Review: The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel,204,203,200_.jpg
The Mystics of Mile End by Sigal Samuel (William Morrow, 292 pages, October 13)

You don't have to know anything about Montreal or the Hasidim and hipsters who live there to enjoy Mystics; you don't have to know anything about Kabbalah or the Trees of Knowledge and Life to love Mystics; you don't even need to understand Yiddish or the importance of becoming a Bat Mitzvah to become entranced by Mystics. All you need is the love of a good story.

Told from four different perspectives, The Mystics of Mile End explores the ways in which faith manifests itself in everyday life and how it can both tear a family apart and bring it together. Each section of the novel moves the plot forward by a few years: we learn about David Meyer's conversion from religious Jew to skeptic and professor of Jewish mysticism; how his son and daughter both immerse themselves in religious practice only to then question it; and how the eccentrics, students, Holocaust survivors, and budding scientists of Mile End all observe and influence how this one family searches for meaning in a seemingly random world.

Each of the four sections is masterfully written in a unique voice that reflects the characters' personal struggles to find God and somehow reconcile themselves to their wife and mother's death years before. This is Sigal Samuel's debut novel, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

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