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A Remarkable Kindness
Cover of A Remarkable Kindness
A Remarkable Kindness
A Novel
Borrow Borrow

Through a largely hidden ceremony...four friends discover the true meaning of life.

It's 2006 in a seaside village in Israel, where a war is brewing. Lauren, Emily, Aviva and Rachel, four memorable women from different backgrounds, are drawn to the village. Lauren, a maternity nurse, loves her Israeli doctor husband but struggles to make a home for herself in a foreign land miles away from her beloved Boston. Seeking a fresh start after divorce, her vivacious friend Emily follows. Strong, sensuous Aviva, brought to Israel years earlier by intelligence work, has raised a family and now lost a son. And Rachel, a beautiful, idealistic college graduate from Wyoming, arrives with her hopeful dreams.

The women forge a friendship that sustains them as they come to terms with love and loss, and the outbreak of war. Their intimate bond is strengthened by their participation in a traditional ritual that closes the circle of life. As their lives are slowly transformed, each finds unexpected strength and resilience.

Brimming with wisdom, rich in meaningful insights, A Remarkable Kindness is a moving testament to women's friendship, illuminating a mostly unknown ritual that underscores what it means to truly be alive.

Through a largely hidden ceremony...four friends discover the true meaning of life.

It's 2006 in a seaside village in Israel, where a war is brewing. Lauren, Emily, Aviva and Rachel, four memorable women from different backgrounds, are drawn to the village. Lauren, a maternity nurse, loves her Israeli doctor husband but struggles to make a home for herself in a foreign land miles away from her beloved Boston. Seeking a fresh start after divorce, her vivacious friend Emily follows. Strong, sensuous Aviva, brought to Israel years earlier by intelligence work, has raised a family and now lost a son. And Rachel, a beautiful, idealistic college graduate from Wyoming, arrives with her hopeful dreams.

The women forge a friendship that sustains them as they come to terms with love and loss, and the outbreak of war. Their intimate bond is strengthened by their participation in a traditional ritual that closes the circle of life. As their lives are slowly transformed, each finds unexpected strength and resilience.

Brimming with wisdom, rich in meaningful insights, A Remarkable Kindness is a moving testament to women's friendship, illuminating a mostly unknown ritual that underscores what it means to truly be alive.

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About the Author-
  • Diana Bletter is a writer whose work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Commentary. Her first book, The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women, with photographs by Lori Grinker, was shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. In 1991, she moved from New York to a seaside village in northern Israel where she lives with her husband and children, and volunteers in a burial circle.

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2015
    The first novel by American-born Israel resident Bletter (The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women, 1989) tells the story of four American women living in Peleg, a village on the Mediterranean coast of Israel. The women belong to a traditional burial circle, which prepares the dead for interment. While it's supposed to be the novel's thematic center of gravity, the group feels more like an awkward vehicle to connect the characters' stories. Aviva grew up in New York and was recruited into spy work by what she calls "the Company" after attending a pro-Israel demonstration in college. Caught in an affair with a fellow spy, she relocated to Israel, became an English teacher, and met her husband, Rafi. Already brokenhearted by the death of her oldest son in a terrorist attack, she struggles to rebuild her life after Rafi dies of a heart attack. Lauren, a nurse from Boston, joins the burial circle after the birth of her first daughter. Deeply homesick for New England's climate and culture, she can't stop wondering if she made a mistake in agreeing to marry her Israeli husband, David, and relocate with him to his hometown, where she doesn't feel comfortable. In contrast, Lauren's college roommate, Emily, who follows Lauren to Peleg on a lark after being dumped by her first husband, feels immediately at home. She finds work as a receptionist at the local hotel, meets and marries a taciturn local farmer, Boaz, and soon has twin sons. But military veteran Boaz proves to be emotionally damaged, and Emily finds herself drawn to Ali, a Muslim Arab who dreams of living in America. Thrown into the mix is the annoyingly naive Rachel, a college student who arrives as a volunteer. Having always felt like an outsider growing up in Wyoming, she embraces her Jewish identity in Israel and soon falls in love with a soldier. Standard heartache and uplift.

    COPYRIGHT(2015) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    November 15, 2016

    Told from the alternating perspectives of four American women who made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) and became volunteers in the burial society in their small town in northern Israel, Bletter's debut novel offers insights into love, grief, and friendship, as well as an intriguing look at life in modern Israel from the point of view of American immigrants.

    Read-Alikes Jessamyn Hope's Safekeeping, Joan Leegant's Wherever You Go, and Risa Miller's Welcome to Heavenly Heights.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Janice Steinberg, author of The Tin Horse "Bletter brings this quartet of complex, gutsy, smart, passionate women to life with rare delicacy and depth . . . Loss and endings are part of this novel's rich fabric. Gracefully written scenes . . . such respect and tenderness. "
  • Michelle Brafman, author of Washing the Dead "In this tightly woven tale, where war and loss hover over four American women living in Israel, love blooms between friends and lovers, and Bletter's reverent rendering of the Jewish burial rituals implores us to grab hold of life."
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