"In this expertly crafted novel, Tova Mirvis explores the bubbling tensions between the different worlds her characters straddle: modernity and tradition, the spiritual and the physical, fantasy and reality, religion and secularism, individual freedom and social mores. With beautiful language and fascinating details ... she creates a moving portrait of estranged loved ones trying to find their way back to each other."
— The Chicago Tribune
"The last generation has seen a wholly unexpected revival within American Judaism, ...Along with that boom has come a trend in literature treating religion seriously. The novels of Allegra Goodman, Aryeh Lev Stollman, and Dara Horn, among others, have explored this landscape. But none have done so with greater perception and empathy than Tova Mirvis in her breakthrough book, The Outside World. [The novel] plunges deeply into both the daily duties and private soul-searching of its devout characters. Beneath the women's wigs and men's black fedoras, Mirvis finds reservoirs of belief, doubt, ambition, folly, lust and the rest of the human equation... A brilliant evocation of Orthodox life in all its variety, complexity and internal flux."
— The Washington Post
"Joyous ... Mirvis [is] a wide-eyed and big-hearted writer. Mirvis has a pastry chef's control of her material, a sureness about not overhandling the dough. She leavens utterly serious explorations of faith with chuckle-out-loud humor ... You don't have to be Jewish to love her."
— The Seattle Times
"[A] subtly humorous novel... As it unfolds, the story expands to explore more weighty questions of faith, piousness and longing. Under Mirvis' knowing and sympathetic eye, this insular sect reveals itself to be not such a small world after all."
— Entertainment Weekly
"Mirvis tells the story with gentle humor and loving attention to detail. She has a talent for seeing everyone's side and making incompatible attitudes seem reasonable...The Outside World offers an illuminating look inside."
"In The Outside World, Tova Mirvis creates a Milky Way of belivers searching for God and a life of meaning. ...Mirvis is a wonderful storyteller and The Outside World is a charming novel with affecting characters."
— The Courier-Post (New Jersey)
"Joyously sweet-natured second outing by Mirvis—and also pointedly insightful about just how complicated it is to lead a religious life." (starred review)
— Kirkus Reviews
"At times giddily humorous, at times stirring and sorrowful, Mirvis's insightful novel is packed with convincing detail...The universal themes of growing up and choosing a fitting life to lead will resonate with readers of all faiths."
— Publisher's Weekly
"Witty and wise, Mirvis's novel explores the expectations of sacred scripture and the yearning for freedom within the parameters of belief."
— Booklist (starred review)
"Fundamentalists from many religions struggle with whether to accommodate the modern world or live in conflict with it. The way this struggle affects two Orthodox Jewish families is examined with both humor and poignancy in Mirvis's second novel...A touching rendering for those who want to explore their own or another culture more deeply."
— Library Journal
"[Mirvis'] chatty style and eye for cultural contradiction are always engaging."
— The New Yorker
"A moving and gently humorous story about the varieties of insularity, faith, acceptance and reconciliation."
— The Memphis Commercial Appeal
"Mirvis writes with gentle humor. She piles on details about food and ritual, and gets it right too. She also captures the challenge of leading a religious life: the obligations, the meaning of faith, the balance between community and self, the occasional doubts."
— The Jewish Week
"Rife with laugh out loud lines... charming and funny. A rich, fascinating glimpse into contemporary Orthodoxy."
— The Forward
"Hilariously brilliant... personal and profound... Mirvis has tackled insider worlds before in her previous besteller, The Ladies Auxiliary, and here she shines as well, creating a whole warm, indelible world and bringing it all to life with insider details... But the wonder of the book isn't just that it's about a specific community; it's universal in its depiction of how families—and faith—work."
— Caroline Leavitt, JBooks.com
"The Outside World falls into that rarest category of books: the kind that makes you want to stop strangers on the street to tell them how good it is. Mirvis has created an illuminating and delightful world, thick with fully realized characters that will stay with the reader long after the book is closed. This novel is an absolutely absorbing description of how faith and love both mesh and clash with modern life, and it is an absolute pleasure to read."
— David Liss, author of A Conspiracy of Paper and The Coffee Trader
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