Memoir / Hardcover / 320 pages
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
September 19, 2017
Several years ago, I wrote an essay that appeared in
The New York Times about receiving a
get, a Jewish bill of divorce, and recognizing that this religious ceremony marked not just the end of my marriage but my belonging to the Orthodox Jewish world in which I was raised.
I'd published three novels before this, but this essay was the most personal thing that I'd ever written. I was extremely scared to put this piece of myself out into the world, but in response to it, I
received hundreds of emails from readers -- men and women, young and old, of all religious backgrounds -- who wanted to share with me their own stories of change and personal transformation. It was the most moving experience I've had as a writer and it inspired me to write
The Book of Separation
I am so grateful to all the book clubs who have read my novels, and am so excited to share
The Book of Separation with you.
Thanks for reading,
bout The Book of Separation
Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. But over the years, her doubts became noisier than her faith, and at age forty she could no longer breathe in what had become a suffocating existence. She decides to leave her husband and her faith. After years of trying to silence the voice inside her that said she did not agree, did not fit in, did not believe, she strikes out on her own to discover what she does believe and who she really is.
of The Book of Separation
"The respect for intra-Jewish difference that Mirvis models for her children -- and for readers -- is a precious gift to the Jewish literary world...Beautiful and poignant."
"Tova Mirvis offers a warmly told and searchingly explored story of her divorce from both her first husband and her Orthodox Jewish faith. As she sorts through what pushed her away from the faith and traditions she grew up with, she also conveys what held her; her conflict over her 'separation' becomes our own."
-Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of The Women in the Castle
"To say that reading The Book of Separation made me feel less alone in the world would be a vast understatement. Tova Mirvis perfectly, beautifully, unsettlingly captures the particular horror -- existential and otherwise -- of dismantling a long marriage and starting one's life anew. This is a heartbreaking, breathtaking, life-altering book."
-Joanna Rakoff, author of My Salinger Year
Book Club Menu Ideas from Tova Mirvis
"For so long, I followed the minute rules of my religious world. When I left, that forbidden world became accessible. I drove on the Sabbath. I ate foods that had once been off limits. One Friday night, I went to Mike's Pastry in Boston's North End and sampled a cannoli, biting into the crunch of the shell, then the sweet surprise of ricotta. I wanted to sample everything here -- hungry not just for the food but for the freedom. I suggest serving the cannoli, pizza, tiramisu, and cream puffs I discovered in those first months."
Invite the Author to Your Book Club: Tova Mirvis is
available to Skype with your book club or join your group in person if you live in the Boston area. Contact Tova by email.