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Nothing I Touch Stands Still

Autobiography, Ficition » Nothing I Touch Stands Still

Nothing I Touch Stands Still


RRP £9.99

In stock

ISBN 978-1-902733-04-3



paperback 192 pages


Laura Cherry, a nineteen-year old from a conservative and traditional North London Jewish background, arrives in Switzerland in the summer before she is to marry, to attend a week’s New Age Life Enhancement course.

During it, as she meets a group of alternatively eccentric, seductive, damaged and desirable fellow participants, her life is changed. Although detached from and sceptical about the group, Laura finds it is a means to review her life and how she has lived it according to others’ expectations.

Outside the group Laura meets Sean, a shy Catholic boy who awakens in her what her betrothed, Geoffrey, has failed to do. She also meets a group of itinerant musicians who come to represent a freedom she has never experienced.

In the early days of her visit Laura learns that her grandmother is dying. Grandma
Cherry then visits Laura nightly in her dreams, revealing the story of her own childhood in Poland, her escape through the Lithuanian forests, her brief shelter and romance in the safe haven of Vilna, and her loveless visit to the Jewish matchmaker. Laura discovers that the Swiss town where she is staying is also central to her grandmother’s story, though their escapes and journeys had been in opposite directions.

Laura realises she must break her engagement. She joins the musicians to travel east towards the village where her grandmother once lived.

This complex and accomplished novel includes a fascinating approach to chronological time. The novel details the main character’s growing sexual awareness, examines Jewish identity, the dilemmas of inherited religion and what we do with it. It is also an epic story of a journey across Europe in the Second World War, containing escape, romance, tragedy and survival; and it is a humorous look at the New Age community and at those who attend therapy and counselling sessions.

JANE SPIRO lives in Devon. To write Nothing I Touch Stands Still she drew on oral refugee history, Yiddish and Hebrew writing and historical and biographical accounts of stedtl communities, as well as her own experiences living and working in Poland, Switzerland and in New Age communities – as well as a lifetime in a Jewish family.