This beautiful book captured me from the first page: Leegant's writing style is effortless, detailed, lyrical, and compelling. In a single page, she sketches the beauty of a location, the mood of the setting, a flashback, the present challenge. Set in modern-day Israel, it follows three Jewish Americans who come to Israel for different reasons -- reconciliation, escape, a desire for peace -- and while the story features some complicated back story (the situation with Israeli settlers, for example) Leegant presents crucial information without bogging down the narrative.While the events are very contemporary and specific to Israel, the challenges the characters experience are ones that are familiar and resonate. I didn't race through the story, exactly, but there was a sense of urgency building, even as the characters waited, considered, circled restlessly. There's a tension from wondering, when will it happen?, 'it' being the terrible heartache or betrayal or violence we know is waiting to emerge. Topically, the characters weren't entirely likeable but they were compelling, their pain real, and I actually found myself sympathetic to almost all of them. Leegant created people who are unlike me, with values unlike mine, that I ultimately cared about; she articulated a world alien to me that I wanted to become a part of, and her skill is that all she wrote felt real. The pain and hunger the characters felt were the kinds of emotions I've felt before.This would be a fantastic novel for a book group or anyone who enjoys fiction that educates and enlightens (in a subtle way!), or a reader who loves complicated characters and a beautiful, fractious locale. This is a book that I suspect will stick with me for a long time -- I'm still chewing over it as I try to read other books. Lovely, moving, beautiful.