This piece was first published in The Times of Israel.
Even without knowing how substantially Tova Mirvis’s life has altered in the past decade, readers familiar with her previous novels, “The Ladies Auxiliary” (1999) and “The Outside World” (2004), will read new her novel “Visible City” (2014) and sense something has shifted for the author.
The first two novels dealt with life within the Orthodox Jewish community. In the new novel, which takes place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, it is implied that most of the characters are Jewish, but none of them are Orthodox. Judaism and issues of Jewish identity and community play no role in the narrative, save for mention of the Orthodox upbringing of a young husband and father named Jeremy, who is no longer observant.
A lot can happen in ten years. For author Tova Mirvis, the decade has included a divorce and leaving Orthodox Judaism. Perhaps “Visible City,” about the parts of ourselves we reveal to the world and the parts we keep hidden, is a window into Mirvis’s inner changes.
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© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.