Tova Mirvis

Novelist & Nonfiction Writer
National Bestseller
Travels from: Boston, MA

“Luminous, unsettling and fiercely brave.” —Shelf Awareness, Starred Review

Tova Mirvis is the author of the memoir The Book of Separation as well as three novels, Visible City, The Outside World and The Ladies Auxiliary, which was a national bestseller. Her essays have appeared in various newspapers including The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe Magazine, and Poets and Writers, and her fiction has been broadcast on National Public Radio. She lives in Newton, MA with her family.

In her novels, Tova Mirvis returns to the themes of characters living in Orthodox communities while struggling with their faith. Mirvis graduated from Columbia University in 1995 and immediately went on to earn an MFA from Columbia in 1998. In 1999, she published her first novel, The Ladies’ Auxiliary, about a widowed convert entering the Orthodox community in Mirvis’s native Memphis. She followed this success with The Outside World in 2004 and Visible City in 2014, and published numerous essays in The New York Times Review of Books, Poets and Writers, and other periodicals. In 2017 she published a memoir, The Book of Separation, in which she discussed her divorce, her decision to leave the Orthodox community, and the bittersweet realities of navigating a new life as a single mother.

Prepare an Invitation for:

The Book Of Separation: A Memoir

Harper Perennial |
Nonfiction

The memoir of a woman who leaves her faith and her marriage and sets out to navigate the terrifying, liberating terrain of a newly mapless world

Born and raised in a tight-knit Orthodox Jewish family, Tova Mirvis committed herself to observing the rules and rituals prescribed by this way of life. After all, to observe was to be accepted and to be accepted was to be loved. She married a man from within the fold and quickly began a family.

But over the years, her doubts became noisier than her faith, and at age forty she could no longer breathe in what had become a suffocating existence. Even though it would mean the loss of her friends, her community, and possibly even her family, Tova decides to leave her husband and her faith. After years of trying to silence the voice inside her that said she did not agree, did not fit in, did not believe, she strikes out on her own to discover what she does believe and who she really is. This will mean forging a new way of life not just for herself, but for her children, who are struggling with what the divorce and her new status as “not Orthodox” mean for them.

This is a memoir about what it means to decide to heed your inner compass at long last. To free the part of yourself that has been suppressed, even if it means walking away from the only life you’ve ever known. Honest and courageous, Tova takes us through her first year outside her marriage and community as she learns to silence her fears and seek adventure on her own path to happiness.

 

Visible City

Harper Perennial |
Fiction

“A glittering novel about fate, fantasy, and the anonymity of urban life.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“Read Visible City. Tova Mirvis’s graceful yet vigorous New York novel is about the half-inadvertent window-peeping that city life enables, and where it can lead.” —New York Magazine

After chaotic days of wrangling and soothing her young children, Nina spends her evenings spying on the quiet, contented older couple across the street. But one night, through her same window, she spies a young couple in the throes of passion. Who are these people, and what happened to her symbol of domestic happiness? Soon, Nina crosses paths with both couples on the streets of her Upper West Side neighborhood and, as anonymity gives way to different forms of intimacy, all begin to confront their own desires and disappointments. Shrewdly and artfully, Mirvis explores the boundaries between our own lives and the lives of others. From its lavish ghost subway stations to its hidden stained-glass windows, Visible City conjures a New York City teeming with buried treasures.

“An utterly perfect, deeply moving evocation of contemporary Manhattan [that] reminded me of Paula Fox and Laurie Colwin, and also those master chroniclers of the privileged classes, Wharton and Fitzgerald . . . Brilliant.” —Joanna Smith Rakoff, Salon.com

“Mirvis’s meticulously choreographed novel surprises and moves us.” —New York Times Book Review

 

The Outside World (Vintage Contemporaries)

Vintage |
Fiction

Tzippy Goldman was born for marriage. She and her mother had always assumed she’d graduate high school, be set up with the right boy, and have a beautiful wedding with white lace and pareve vanilla cream frosting. But at twenty-two, Tzippy’s fast approaching spinsterhood. She dreams of escape; instead, she leaves for a year in Jerusalem.There she meets–re-meets–Baruch, the son of her mother’s college roommate. When Tzippy last saw him, his name was Bryan and he wore a Yankees-logo yarmulke. Now he has adopted the black hat of the ultra-orthodox, the tradition in which Tzippy was raised. Twelve weeks later, they’re engaged…and discovering that desire and tradition, devotion and individuality aren’t the easiest balance. Hilarious, compassionate, and tremendously insightful, The Outside World illuminates an insular community, marvelously depicting that complicated blend of faith, love, and family otherwise known as life in a modern world.

The Ladies Auxiliary: A Novel

Ballantine Books |
Fiction

When free-spirited Batsheva moves into the close-knit Orthodox community of Memphis, Tennessee, the already precarious relationship between the Ladies Auxiliary and their teenage daughters is shaken to the core. In this extraordinary novel, Tova Mirvis takes us into the fascinating and insular world of the Memphis Orthodox Jews, one ripe with tradition and contradiction. Warm and wise, enchanting and funny, The Ladies Auxiliary brilliantly illuminates the timeless struggle between mothers and daughters, family and self, religious freedom and personal revelation, honoring the past and facing the future. An unforgettable story of uncommon atmosphere, profound insight, and winning humor, The Ladies Auxiliary is a triumphant work of fiction.

Writing Memoir in an Age of Over-Sharing

Telling Your Story: A Conversation About Memoir and Owning Your Authentic Story

How To Leave: Navigating Separations, Fear, Life Changes and Reinvention

Believers, Doubters and Dreamers: Writing About Religion

A Jerusalem of the South: An Exploration of Southern Jewish Life

Writing and Motherhood

Crafting a Novel

Tova’s Upcoming Events

Tova’s News and Other Writing

Resources for Book Clubs

The Book of Separation – Discussion Guide

Visible City – Discussion Guide

Honors, Awards & Recognition

National Bestseller
New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

Media Kit

By clicking the link below your will be directed to a Google Docs Folder
where you can download author photos and cover images.

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