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 on Amazon, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble, and more.

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*Finalist for Autobiography/Memoir, Foreword Reviews Book Awards 2023 
*Finalist for Women's Literature Non-Fiction, Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2024
*Finalist for Adult Nonfiction, Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2023
*Finalist in Multicultural Nonfiction, American Legacy Book Awards 2024
*Finalist in Multicultural Nonfiction, American Book Fest's 20th Annual Best Book Awards 2023
*Finalist in Multicultural Nonfiction, Independent Author Network Book of the Year Awards 2023
*Pushcart Prize nomination for "Hand in hand," Vine Leaves Press 2023
*Gold Book Award Winner, Literary Titan 2023
*Finalist for book cover design, Wishing Shelf Book Awards 2023


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.

Sue William Silverman, author of How to Survive Death and Other Inconveniences

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.

Chelsey Clammer, author of Human Heartbeat Detected

wishing shelf finalist