Popular Articles

Foodbenders Saga Far From Over

In the haze of complete ignorance about Israel, Gaza and the Mideast, Foodbenders’ owner appears to be enjoying the attention, no matter how antisemitic her newfound friends are.

Read More »

Sidura Ludwig’s “Not What We Expected” is a multi-layered exploration of personalities and struggle

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Toronto author Sidura Ludwig | Photo: Courtesy

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

What happens when we don’t break out of the cycle of pain and toxicity and pass it along to future generations? How do love, guilt, and half-truths weave together to form the thread that binds a family, and beyond that, a community?

These are the weights that we carry from one generation to another, encapsulated in Sidura Ludwig’s You Are Not What We Expected, in an extraordinary series of portraits, of the microcosm of a family and a Jewish community. Ludwig captures the personalities and tribulations of characters living in the neighborhood she resides, Thornhill, north of Toronto – their struggles, dreams, personal tragedies, and flaws are laid bare, in this multigenerational series of stories.

This is Ludwig’s second work of fiction; the Winnipeg-raised author previously published her debut novel, Holding My Breath in 2007. That novel was situated in the rich backdrop of the Winnipeg Jewish community, and was shortlisted for the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, and was a finalist for the CBC Cross Canada Bookshelf.

The stories in You Are Not What We Expected center on the Levine family at the core of the narrative, weaving in and out of their perspectives, at various times in their lives; they are the eye of the storm as it swirls around them. The mother that abandoned her children, the irascible uncle that begrudgingly returned, the grandmother weighed down under the guilt and worry of raising her grandchildren, the kids growing up with shadows of ghosts of what they are not being told – we see all of their perspectives throughout their lives, as they continue to hold together with an uneasy mix of duty and guilt, anger and love.

Get thej.ca a Pro Israel Voice by Email. Never miss a top story that effects you, your family & your community

“You are not what we expected” is the title of one of the stories in the collection as well, a perfect encapsulation of every story that comes before, and each one that follows. Trauma and dysfunctional family dynamics are tackled with a dose of humour, and an even larger dose of empathy, that speaks to the complexity of being part of a family, and a further part of a community. Indeed, nothing is what is expected in the stories of the Levine family and their neighbors, as their narrative constantly shifts to make the reader question who is telling the truth.

As Sol, the protagonist in “The Greatest Story Never Told” pointedly remarks, his story is his story. There is no one truth because it shifts and changes with the circumstances and perspective of each character, allowing each of them to add a piece to the tapestry that weaves itself together by the end.

Cover of Sidura Ludwig’s newest book “You Are Not What We Expected” | Photo: Courtesy

The topics are difficult ones; estranged parents and children, divorce and abandonment, drug use and gender transitions, and illness. Ludwig tackles them all with a clear eye, but considerable empathy and kindness, showing not the sound bites we would see in the news, but the way that such topics play a part in our daily lives and conversations. These are the bones of our families and societies, exposed and gently juxtaposed without any real judgment. They simply are a part of the lives of the families in the neighborhood, explored as the years pass and children grow up into adults trying to unravel their own past; cycles aren’t broken, as much as understood.

Ludwig’s writing style is lush in its attention to detail, and the way she engages all the senses. She calls to mind not just the sights but the sounds of smells of everyday life, the feel of a material in our hands. She transports us into a world that is entirely too real, as echoes of people we have known can be recognized in a cantankerous great-uncle or an abusive sibling.

There is no conclusion that lays bare the villains or the heroes. Much as in real life, where we are the heroes and the villains, depending on who tells the story; the glimpses we get of the characters shift that judgment call with every story. A powerful book to read, that will generate some important conversations.

Apis Teicher is a Canadian-Colombian writer based out of Vancouver. Her work has been published in Jim Baen’s Universe, the Pacific Rim Review, the Denver Bloomsbury Review, Innovation Magazine (APEGBC), Landmark Report, EMG-Zine, and Afterword. Her fantasy trilogy The Yappari Chronicles ( 2019) and her children’s book Bellybuttonless (2012) can be found on Amazon

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print

Click an icon above to share, email, or save this article

Read More

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

cOMING SOON…….

Breaking News

Recent

Features

News

Current Events

Opinions

Politics

Religion

Culture

Memoriam and Obituaries

PodcastS

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Subscribe Now

Receive the latest in community & international Jewish news direct to your inbox

Terms and Conditions

Privacy Policy

About Us

Advertise with us

contact 

© 2020 THEJ.CA, All Rights Reserved

Previous
Next