Giving Up America

“Gripping…[Abraham] explores the way even devoutly religious people can find their love and their lives derailed by the secular world.”

3In her “remarkable first novel” (Entertainment Weekly), Pearl Abraham “deftly lifted the opaque curtain from the closed Hasidic world” (New York Times Book Review). Now she tells the poignant story of a marriage cracking and collapsing under the weight of conflicting faiths. Deena’s father, a Hasidic scholar, opposes her marriage to the non-Hasidic Daniel based on Kabbalistic interpretations—but Deena ignores her father’s prediction and she and Daniel begin to renovate their dream house in Brooklyn. When Daniel brings a beautiful Gentile coworker home from the office one day, their subsequent three-way friendship—and the betrayals it breeds—leads Deena to contemplate where her true home lies, and how far she is willing to travel to find it.

As she did in The Romance Reader, Pearl Abraham gives us an insider’s glimpse into Hasidic life, this time through the lens of the secular world. Giving Up America charts the conflict between the religious and the secular, between Hasidic and Orthodox practices, between being single and being married. It painfully juxtaposes the inner desires, expectations, and imaginings of its characters with the workaday realities and choices we all face.

The Romance Reader was a poignant novel about a young woman’s coming of age. Giving Up America is a more mature story, a troubling, intimate, compassionate expression of the disintegration of a marriage. It will resonate with the reader long after the book is closed.

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“Whether one is falling in love or out of it, the transition is mysterious. Giving Up America, the story of a young couple in New York whose marriage begins changing for the worse, does full justice to that mystery.”
—The San Francisco Chronicle

“Her prose is sparse and exacting.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“Minutely etched… Abraham has created a living, breathing woman, one whose conflicting yet utterly believable desires are presented with clarity and humor.”
—The Washington Post Book World

“Fans of her first book won’t be disappointed.”
—Publishers Weekly

“In the current Jewish ideological climate, it is a challenge to write about the lives of the ultra-orthodox without indulging in stereotypes or bypassing the subtle complexities of their communal society. One of the triumphs of Giving Up America is that Abraham successfully avoids doing the first and ingeniously grapples with the second.”

“A satisfying story.”
—Rocky Mountain News

“A compelling storyteller.”
—Library Journal

“Abraham addresses the secrets and longings of a young woman, raising some pertinent questions along the way.”
—Chicago Tribune

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