When American-born Jennifer falls in love with French-born Philippe during the First Intifada in Israel, she understands their relationship isn't perfect. Both 23, both Jewish, they lead very different lives: she's a secular tourist, he's an observant immigrant. Despite their opposing outlooks on two fundamental issues—country and religion—they are determined to make it work. For the next 20 years, they root and uproot their growing family, each longing for a singular place to call home.
In Places We Left Behind, Jennifer puts her marriage under a microscope, examining commitment and compromise, faith and family while moving between prose and poetry, playing with language and form, daring the reader to read between the lines.
Published by Vine Leaves Press and distributed through Ingram, the book is available for pre-order, released on September 5, 2023. In a book club? Invite her to your next event.
When you live a restless, writerly life, as Lang does, moving here, immigrating there (America, France, Israel), you need to discover, or invent, a literary structure as sophisticated and beautifully complicated as the life it replicates. Which she does. Each facet in this collection is its own world-in-miniature that ultimately coheres into a compelling whole.
In this highly engaging and highly hybrid memoir, Jennifer Lang has created a smart and compelling narrative about the twists and turns of a relationship when religion, identity, and a sense of place are focal points. With inventive structures that enhance the narrative’s tone and action, this mesmerizing love story is irresistible.