Strangers with the Same Dream
This spare, beautifully written, shocking and timely novel whisks us back to 1921 Palestine, when a band of young Jewish pioneers, many escaping violence in their homelands, set out to realize a utopian dream: the founding of a kibbutz on a patch of land that will, 25 years later, become part of the State of Israel. Writing with tightly controlled intensity, Alison Pick takes us inside the minds of her vastly different characters — two young unmarried women, one plain and one beautiful, escaping peril in Russia and Europe; one older man, a charismatic group leader who is married with two children; and his wife, Hannah, who understands all too well the dark side of "equality" — to show us how idealism quickly tumbles into pragmatism and how the utopian dream is punctured by messy human entanglements.
This is also the story of the land itself (present-day Israel and Palestine), revealing with compassion and terrible irony how the pioneers chose to ignore the subtle but undeniable fact that their valley was already populated, home to a people whose lives they did not entirely understand.
Writing with extraordinary power, Pick creates unforgettably human characters who, isolated in the enclosure of their hard-won utopian dream, are haunted by ghosts, compromised by unbearable secrets and, finally, despite flashes of love and hope, worn down by hardship, human frailty and the pull of violent confrontation. The novel's utterly shocking but satisfying conclusion will have readers flipping back to the first page to trace patterns and wrestle with the question of what is, or is not, inevitable and knowable in the human heart. (From Knopf Canada)