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Other titles in the Harvest Original series:
Raymond and Hannah (Harvest Original)
Synopses & Reviews
This boldly contemporary love story combines sex and seriousness, physical lust and spiritual longing. Raymond and Hannah hook up at a party; a one-night stand expands into a weeklong passionate and surprisingly deep love affair. Then Hannah leaves for a year in Jerusalem. With six thousand miles separating their bodies, the energy of love and lust must be sublimated to the written word. While Hannah immerses herself in Torah and the Orthodox world of Jerusalem, Raymond remains in multicultural Toronto, working on his dissertation on Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy.
Over the school year, Hannah's growing love for her Jewishness is more and more at odds with her love for a blond, blue-eyed WASP. And Raymond, pining in Toronto, seems to be living out his dissertation before he's even written it. Can this new love affair survive distance, cultural dissonance, and out-of-sync, late-night e-mails?
In this remarkable debut, carnal love confronts religion and culture, and modern passion finds its counterpoint in ancient texts.
"In his startling debut, Marche offers up a rare hybrid: the page-turner prose poem. Raymond and Hannah meet at a party in Toronto, and what might have been a one-night stand blossoms into something more enduring. In lyrical paragraphs labeled in the margins (e.g., 'Lost virginities'), Marche maps out their five-day love affair with bursts of confession, philosophical musing and notes on the infinitesimal shifts of mood between kisses. On Raymond and Hannah's second day together, 'The afternoon is a labyrinthine flex of joints twisted around each other in a variety of blisses.' But at the end of the week, Hannah leaves Canada and her WASPy lover for a previously scheduled nine-month stay in Jerusalem. Their e-mail exchanges about their respective cities and pursuits — Raymond is writing a doctoral dissertation on Robert Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy while Hannah studies Torah at an Orthodox yeshiva — don't necessarily forward the plot, but rather reveal how little two people can really tell each other. In between their letters, the novel offers utterly convincing glimpses of both characters' lives. Especially full-bodied is the evocation of Hannah's struggle to understand her Jewish identity, not just through study but through the city of Jerusalem itself. In this lushly romantic book, love between Jew and atheist gentile resembles the divided city, simultaneously impossible and actual. Agent, Jacqueline Kaiser, Westwood Creative Artists (Toronto). (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Meeting as strangers at a party, Raymond and Hannah stumble into a one-night stand with unexpected consequences. Together, they share a single, magical week before Hannah leaves for Jerusalem, where she is to spend nine months at an orthodox yeshiva learning Torah among students who disapprove of intermarriage. Raymond, a graduate student researching love in Richard Burtons Anatomy of Melancholy, struggles with his loneliness and Hannahs increasing religiosity. Unable to make a clean break, theyre forced to try their insoluble problems in the city without solution, Jerusalem.
Meeting as strangers at a party, Raymond and Hannah stumble into a one-night stand with unexpected consequences. Unable to make a clean break, they're forced to try their insoluble problems in the city without solution, Jerusalem.
About the Author
STEPHEN MARCHE has published short fiction in various literary journals and was short-listed for the 2002 O. Henry Prize. This is his first novel. He lives in Toronto.
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