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Alice Ingleby - A Book Review

Alice Ingleby … she's leaving home

By Jane Biran
Amazon Kindle $5.39

Reviewed by Judy Frankel

"Alice Ingleby….. she's leaving home" is Jane Biran's fifth novel. Formerly married to Eric Moonman, a British Labour MP, the author's previous name as Jane Moonman will almost certainly be a familiar one to most of our UK-born readers as a noted and successful Zionist activist in past decades. She met her second husband, Yoav Biran, when he was Israel's Ambassador to the United Kingdom and they now live in Jerusalem.

As in her previous work, Jane Biran charts the dynamics and stresses of family relationships and explores the nature of fidelity. In an energetically plotted and colorfully populated sequence of episodes, extending across several parts of the globe, Alice Ingleby reacts to a mid-life crisis by resolutely walking out on her unsatisfying domestic life and part-time job in a London suburb, leaving behind a boring husband and two adolescent children whom she feels no longer need her. Throughout her travels, she maintains contact with her London family through a series of emails, especially a correspondence with her long-suffering mother.

Alice's insights into human nature and into personal relationships are inevitably enriched as she comes to terms with different social worlds and their once-unfamiliar values. She travels to Ireland's Dublin and Connemara, both of which are well described, and then to New York (an absorbing and authentic account here of the atmosphere amongst those who work within the United Nations building) and then to Norway.

Ultimately, she comes to Israel and the sections set in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are well-observed. The depiction of everyday Israeli life and attitudes, presumably written mainly for a non-Jewish readership, is enjoyable and often amusing. There is also a fairly brief but powerful description of a terrorist attack and its aftermath.

The final stage of the story raises many unanswered questions and to this reviewer the implications of the ending seemed unsatisfactory: but overall the novel is a spirited examination of tangled obligations, loyalties and personal instincts. 

 

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Wednesday, 10 August 2022

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