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    Unusual SF which looks at big questions

    This was, for me, a really unexpected book. I'd previously read Piercy's Woman on the Edge of Time and found it quite hard going, but this was a much easier read. The main plot, telling the story of Shira as she returns to her hometown, is compelling and covers a lot of ground in terms of 'big questions', like 'what does it mean to be alive?'. Shira is a really well-drawn out character with a lot of depth to her, and she feels incredibly realistic. The other characters are equally richly described, full of life and complexity. There's quite a lot of religious elements to the book, both in terms of the contemporary Jewish life Shira lives in her hometown, and some historical elements in the form of a story told by one character to another. I struggle to think of another SF book I've read where religion plays such an important part, but I really enjoyed it here. All in all, I largely enjoyed this book. I found it took me quite a while to get into, but after that, I was fully engaged with it. I would definitely recommend it for anyone interested in some unusual SF which looks at some big questions.

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