Svelte and supple as unleavened bread, Shlepping the Exile
rends the shmaltz
from Jewish fiction and replaces it with a pound of real flesh.
It's the story of Yoine Levkes, a hassidic boy of the Canadian prairies, his refugee parents, and the Jewish community of Coalbanks, Alberta in the late 1950s. Confronted with dying people, an ailing culture, the perils of near-orphanhood and the allures of Sabina Mandelbroit, whose family doesn't keep the Sabbath, Yoine can no longer tell whether he's a human being or a loot-bag of conflicting traditions. He's too religious to be 'normal,' too 'normal' not to realize this, and too much of a kid to be able to make any sense of it.
Shlepping the Exile is Michael Wex's inside portrait of orthodox, post-Holocaust Judaism in a place that it never expected to be.