A moving, page-turning story of two families in crisis that melds the clock-ticking tension of Laura Dave’s The Last Thing He Told Me with the “issue-driven” gravity of Jennifer Haigh’s Mercy Street.
ON HER OWN
by Lihi Lapid, translated from the Hebrew by Sondra Silverton
HarperVia, March 2024
Watching her Russian immigrant mother, Irina, struggle to put food on the table, Nina, a beautiful and restless teenager, vows her life will be different. When a strapping older man in a fancy car appears at school one day offering her luxuries her single mother cannot afford, Nina believes he’s her ticket out of her dumpy little town. Ignoring the danger signs and her mother’s constant pleas—which end in exhausting screaming matches—she packs a suitcase and leaves home after one last fight.
Ten days later, a terrified Nina, her dress torn, is hiding in the stairwell of a Tel Aviv apartment after witnessing a murder she cannot talk about. She is discovered by one of the building’s tenants, a confused, lonely old widow who mistakes her for the granddaughter she hasn’t seen for a long while, not since her son moved his family to America. “You’ve come back to me, Dana’le.” Instead of correcting the mistake, the desperate Nina jumps at the chance for a place to hide.
Hiding from her mother and the dangerous man who are both frantically searching for her, Nina settles into the old woman’s apartment. But how long can Nina possibly hide out until the poor woman realizes she’s not who she says she is, or before someone else – her homesick son in America who keeps calling, or the lovely local neighbors who drop by with groceries—catches on?
Set between the eve of Passover and Israel’s Independence Day, On Her Own is a tense and immersive psychological read about two families looking for redemption, the transformative bonds between strangers, and the unexpected places from which love can grow.
Lihi Lapid is a bestselling Israeli author, photojournalist, columnist, and activist. She lives in Tel Aviv with her husband Yair Lapid, the former Prime Minister of Israel, and their two children. This is her third novel.