The Wanting by Michael Lavigne
A Novel

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...Lavigne knows how to evoke the volatile quest for meaning that affects so many in the Holy Land.
-NY Times


From the author of Not Me, this powerful novel about an Israeli father and his daughter brings to life a rich canvas of events and unexpected change in the aftermath of a suicide bombing.
In the galvanizing opening of The Wanting, the celebrated Russian-born postmodern architect Roman Guttman is injured in a bus bombing, causing his life to swerve into instability and his perceptions to become heightened and disturbed as he embarks on an ill-advised journey into Palestinian territory. The account of Roman’s desert odyssey alternates with the vivacious, bittersweet diary of his thirteen-year-old daughter, Anyusha (who is on her own perilous path, of which Roman is ignorant), and the startlingly alive witnessings of Amir, the young Palestinian who pushed the button and is now damned to observe the havoc he has wrought from a shaky beyond.
Enriched by flashbacks to the alluringly sad tale of Anyusha’s mother, a famous Russian refusenik who died for her beliefs, The Wanting is a poignant study of the costs of extremism, but it is most satisfying as a story of characters enmeshed in their imperfect love for one another and for the heartbreakingly complex world in which that love is wrought.


About Michael Lavigne

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Michael Lavigne was born in Newark, New Jersey, and educated at Millersville State College and the University of Chicago, where he did graduate work on the Committee on Social Thought. His first novel, Not Me, received the Sami Rohr Choice Award for emerging Jewish writers and was named an American Library Association Sophie Brody Honor Book and a Book-of-the-Month Club Alternate Selection; it was also translated into three languages. Lavigne has worked extensively in advertising, for which he has won many awards, is a founder of the Tauber Jewish Studies Program at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, and spent three years living and working in the Soviet Union. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Gayle Geary.

Author Residence: San Francisco, CA
Published February 26, 2013 by Schocken. 337 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Wanting
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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Ethan Bronner on Mar 01 2013

...Lavigne knows how to evoke the volatile quest for meaning that affects so many in the Holy Land.

Read Full Review of The Wanting: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Toronto Star

Reviewed by Michel Basilieres on Mar 01 2013

All three of his main characters are portrayed fully and sympathetically, and the voices of Anyusha and Amir are especially life-like. It’s a complicated story with no clear path for anyone — just like the locale in which it’s set.

Read Full Review of The Wanting: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

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