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The Girl from Lake Michigan

Chana Bat Shahar
This is the tale of a religious woman`s long journey from psychological dependence to spiritual emancipation, as she discovers her identity and gains confidence in her own powers. Haya-Tova, known as Minnie, grew up in the patriarchal Jewish world that engenders in a woman dependency on a man, first her father, then her husband. She is the daughter of a rabbi in Chicago, but unlike her girlfriends who suppress their desires, hers run free. At 16 she falls in love with Hillel, her father`s faithful student, many years her senior – "the wrong man" as defined by her stepmother. A forbidden relationship evolves, but Minnie never wins Hillel. Her father packs her off to Jerusalem, where she later hears that Hillel has married a rich and attractive widow with a son from a previous marriage. Minnie is far from her family, living in a community of ultra-Orthodox, North American immigrants. She studies, she works and she devotes herself to community service. She is even wooed by an aging bachelor called Stein, whose sister Susie, a victim of unrequited love, has sunk into depression and insanity. Minnie identifies with Susie, not only because she, too, has been abandoned by a man, but because she cannot free herself of her own love for Hillel. She continues to love him from a distance, for many years. When he visits Jerusalem with his wife, her old love blooms again. But Hillel dies of a heart attack, and once more Minnie falls in love with the wrong man, Hillel`s stepson Johnny, a Bohemian, a dancer and an AIDS patient.
For twenty years Minnie longs for unattainable men, one after the other. The book`s strength lies in the psychological possibilities it fosters, the relationships between the characters, and the protagonist`s ultimate release from her psychological trap.


Partial English translation available (for publishers only)



The Girl from Lake Michigan
Title The Girl from Lake Michigan
Author’s Last Name Bat Shahar
Author's First Name Chana
Genre novel
Publisher (Hebrew) Hakibbutz Hameuchad/ Siman Kriah
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2002
No. Pages 229 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Naʹara Me-Agam Mishigan
Representation Represented by ITHL

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