Returning by Yael Shahar

Returning by Yael Shahar

How far will one man go for forgiveness?

Alex endured more than a year in Auschwitz. Unable to speak of what he did to survive, he was locked in the silent prison of his guilt. Now he is finally ready to face his past … but his past is the least of his secrets.

Alex was only seventeen when he was torn from his home and deported to Auschwitz. There, he saw things that no one should ever see, and did things he would give anything to forget. Decades later, he still can’t speak of his past–or even reveal his identity to those closest to him.

Now he’s decided to put himself on trial for treason against his people. Approaching a local rabbi to serve as judge, he sets in motion a process that may let him rejoin the world of the living–if it doesn’t destroy him first.

But it isn’t only Alex’s fate that hangs in the balance: his life is entangled with that of a woman from a different place and time. Yael, born to a non-Jewish family in Texas, should be far removed from Alex’s world–but she is haunted by strange, dark memories that she could not have lived. Alex is the only one who can help her understand what she remembers, and why. And only Yael can help Alex keep his promises to the dead.

Rabbi Ish-Shalom, caught between his training and his compassion, must decide whether to give Alex the verdict he seeks–or go beyond his role as rabbinic judge and challenge the foundations of his own belief.

Upon his decision hangs the future of two lives.

Returning is a haunting and compelling exploration of the choices we make in a choiceless time, the terrifying strength and burden of the will to survive, and the power of the human spirit to transcend even its own destruction. It will leave you changed forever.

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