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Extended Audio Sample The Wanting, by Michael Lavigne Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (27 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Michael Lavigne Narrator: Cassandra Campbell, Neil Shah, Robert Fas Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From the author of Not Me, this powerful novel of an Israeli father and daughter brings to life a rich canvas of events and unexpected change in the aftermath of a suicide bombing.

In the captivating opening of this novel, the celebrated Russian-born modern architect Roman Guttman is injured in a bus bombing; his life and perceptions become heightened and disturbed, leading him on an ill-advised journey into the desert and Palestinian territory. Roman’s odyssey alternates with the vivacious, bittersweet diary of his thirteen-year-old daughter Anyusha—on her own perilous path, of which Roman is ignorant—and the startlingly alive observations of Amir, the young Palestinian who pushed the button and is now damned to watch the havoc he has wrought from a shaky beyond. Enriched also by flashbacks to the alluring, sad tale of Anyusha’s mother, a Russian refusenik who died for her beliefs, this novel becomes a poignant study of the costs of extremism, but it is most satisfying as a story of characters enmeshed in their imperfect love for one another and for the heartbreakingly complex world in which all such love is wrought.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mixes conventional storytelling with magic realism…The Wanting contains strong descriptive writing and considerable cultural context…Lavigne knows how to evoke the volatile quest for meaning that affects so many in the Holy Land.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Lavigne’s second novel confronts the moral questions surrounding religious extremism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…[His] heartfelt examination offers what reportage never could: an intensely intimate and humane depiction of the forces that unite and powerfully divide this region and its people.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The choice of a trio of narrators conveys the richness of this contemporary novel about the multilayered conflict between Israel and Palestine…Narrators Robert Fass, Cassandra Campbell, and Neil Shah hold their own when called upon. They convey the deep ambivalence that the characters feel about violence and the contradictions of their everyday experiences, in which violence plays a key role…The contemplation of the human experience at the core of the story is brought out by the cast, who use gentle, measured tones when delivering dialogue and ruminations.”


  • “Narrators Robert Fass, Cassandra Campell, and Neil Shah excellently portray the different characters and their riveting readings add enormously to the story.”


  • “In this exquisite novel of longing and loss, Lavigne has woven multiple stories of intersecting lives and conflicting desires. From the snowy streets of communist Moscow to the scorching heat of a Palestinian-controlled desert, we travel with characters at once ruined and resilient, some idealistic, others world-weary—all pursuing that most essential but elusive want: a place to call home. A beautiful meditation on love, and on all the ways in which stories are remembered and told.”

    Dalia Sofer, author of The Septembers of Shiraz 

  • “Lavigne writes like an angel. And like a devil. Indeed, he writes so well that it isn’t always possible to tell which is which. His ability to give wild imaginings a concrete immediacy, a human warmth and plausibility, is the rarest of writerly gifts.”

    Jonathan Rosen, author of Joy Comes in the Morning and The Talmud and the Internet

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Adam | 12/7/2013

    " Beautiful, clever take on Israel/Palestine/Soviet Jewry... great characters, great story, really enjoyed it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Noel | 6/4/2013

    " Sad story,some good theological discussions but not sure of ultimate meaning "

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About the Author

Michael Lavigne was educated at Millersville State University and the University of Chicago, where he did graduate work on the Committee on Social Thought. His first novel, Not Me, won the Sami Rohr Choice Award for emerging Jewish writers, was an American Library Association Sophie Brody Honor Book and a Book of the Month Club Alternate, and was translated into three languages. He has worked extensively in advertising, for which he has won numerous awards, including the Clio, the Effie, and the ADDY. He has also directed commercials and short films—his work having been honored at the New York and Cannes Film Festivals and by Communication Arts. He has been an instructor of writing for radio and television at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife.