MICHAEL LOWENTHAL

Avoidance

  • Greywolf Press
  • November 2002
  • ISBN 1555973671

(From the Publisher)

How does someone, excluded from the only community he or she has ever known, go on living?

Haunted by this question, Harvard graduate student Jeremy Stull lives with a devout Amish family to observe both their faith and their strict shunning of those who breach it. He befriends Beulah—a banished Amish woman—but comes no closer to understanding her predicament than he is to fathoming his own bitter exile.

For Jeremy, community means Ironwood, a summer camp in the Vermont woods that is more than a mere diversion for restless boys—it is a place to belong. First as a camper, then as assistant director, Jeremy has found in Ironwood's rituals a sturdy foundation for his life; like the tight-knit Amish society he's been studying, it's a whole greater than the sum of its parts. But when he is blindsided by the seductive charm of Max, a fourteen-year-old boy from Manhattan, all arms and legs and attitude, Jeremy must confront both his own confusing desires and a legacy of disturbing secrets at his beloved Ironwood. In this powerful and daring novel, Lowenthal ingeniously explores an age-old dilemma: individual desire versus the good of the group.

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