Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Hush Eishes Chayil

Told in alternating chapters between the then and the now, we learn the story of Devory and Gittel and their lives in a closed Chassidic Jewish community. When Devory, a victim of sexual abuse, hangs herself, Gittel is told to forget all about Devory. The problem is the now, as she prepares to graduate and marry, and Devory haunts her dreams.

There’s a touch of exoticism when reading about this closed, insular world, and it’s hard to believe, although people who know more than me have said it’s an accurate portrayal.* At the same time, I loved this look into a community that is the same religion as me, but practices it so very, very differently. But beyond that, this is a wonderful story of coming to terms with past tragedy and mourning a lost friendship and innocence. I liked how the story unfolds, telling it with the then/now dichotomy-- we know something has happened that Gittel is struggling with but we’re not sure what.

It was moving and awesome and worth the high praise it got when it came out last year. Totally lived up to the hype.

*Also, the author is a member of a closed Chassidic community. Fearing retribution, she wrote the book as Eishes Chayil.a pseudonym meaning “woman of valor.”

ARC provided by... um... I don’t remember where I got the ARC. Sorry. I got it before the book came out in September 2010 and didn’t read it until this May.

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