cover image If You Awaken Love

If You Awaken Love

Emuna Elon, , trans. from the Hebrew by David Hazony. . Toby, $14.95 (229pp) ISBN 978-1-59264-145-1

A Tel Aviv interior designer specializing in closed rooms and clients' privacy, 40-year-old Shlomtzion Drore closed herself off emotionally after her childhood sweetheart, Yair, broke off their engagement when his rabbi refused them his blessing. A rebound marriage, pregnancy and divorce quickly followed, as did an abandonment of the religious nationalism at the center of her relationship with Yair. Now it's the eve of Rabin's assassination in 1995, and Shlomtzion is a secular leftist who supports the Oslo peace accords and the dismantling of the controversial West Bank settlements. But when her daughter, Maya, undergoes a religious awakening and becomes engaged to Yair's son, Shlomtzion is forced to confront her old flame at his West Bank settlement home, and her pentup venom threatens to poison their children's happiness. West Bank resident Elon limns a vivid and dignified portrait of the Israeli religious minority, although at times her characters spout political rhetoric and Shlomtzion's overwritten obsession with Yair and their children's coincidental romance fails to suspend disbelief. (May)