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Welcome to Heavenly Heights: A Novel
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Welcome to Heavenly Heights: A Novel

2.81 of 5 stars 2.81  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  8 reviews
A first novel written by PEN Discovery Award Winner Risa Miller, Welcome to Heavenly Heights describes a group of American Jews who have left the United States, not just to move to Israel, but to live in a settlement on the West Bank. Miller conjures a culture and a movement--part religion, part pipe dream--viewed through the pinhole of one ragged apartment building's door ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 16th 2003 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2003)
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By and large this book didn't speak to me much. The writing was back and forth and difficult to follow with random POV shifts in individual chapters. The characters lacked a certain sense of dimension, making it difficult to feel for them (until the very end with the terror attack that killed two young boys, but the main character had already left Israel by that point.) I think Miller bit off a little more than she could chew, and should have focused more narrowly on the MC, Tova, as a fully fle ...more
Kressel Housman
The author of this book is the first frum woman to win a PEN award, so naturally, I had to read it. It's written mainly from the POV of an American woman who goes to live in a settlement in Israel, but other chapters are written in the POV of other characters, and these are even more intriguing. My favorite was the wealthy Zionist philanthropist who makes the entire settlement possible, but the scene that hit home the most was a father's meeting with his son's school principal. The author sure g ...more
Hmmm... not one single character I could like/relate to... no plot... no real character development except for the generic unpleasantness of these women and the consistent blandness of their husbands... and the underlying message rather disturbing: Arabs appear only in vague mentions (as in 'the Arab construction workers') or as the invisible, unnamed terrorists who only show themselves through the havoc they wreak among the settlers --- if that is really how the latter see them or interact with ...more
Aug 11, 2008 rivka rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to rivka by: Kressel
3.5 stars

This series of individual stories (and individuals' stories) does have an over-arcing plot, but it functions best as individual stories -- some sweet, some funny, some that will break your heart.

I recommend that everyone read it while actually in Jerusalem -- made it both more immediate and more surreal.
Although this first novel is not very well written, it deals with a subculture seldom treated by fiction, except in caricature, Orthodox Jewish Settlers in the disputed Israeli-Palestinian territories.
Jessica Keener
Gorgeous writing, insightful. Takes you into a different world and shows you how differences are really external. It's the heart that matters and connects us all to each other. Wonderful story.
Nov 28, 2010 Aliza marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
15 pages in and my visceral dislike of the characters--um, like, all of them--and I returned to the book to the library.
I didn't finish the book. It was an interesting story, just not interesting enought to hold my interest.
Angie French
Angie French marked it as to-read
Feb 04, 2015
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Jan 08, 2015
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Oct 19, 2014
Michelle Prinzo
Michelle Prinzo marked it as to-read
May 31, 2014
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Feb 10, 2014
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