Todd Hasak-Lowy
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012
Cap­tives is worth read­ing for the moral dilem­ma it presents and the quirky ideas it offers up. Daniel, a Hol­ly­wood screen­play writer, finds him­self cre­ative­ly blocked unless he is detail­ing bru­tal assas­si­na­tion sce­nar­ios involv­ing real life busi­ness lead­ers and politi­cians. The vivid­ness of his fan­tasies scares him. His wife won’t speak to him about work relat­ed issues and his agent is inca­pable of lis­ten­ing to him, so he seeks the advice of a young rab­bi. Since read­ers’ reac­tions to the rab­bi will vary wild­ly, I rec­om­mend Cap­tives for read­ing groups for the dis­cus­sions it will pro­voke. 

So we have a spir­i­tu­al cri­sis and a twisty plot, but the nov­el harms itself by being exces­sive­ly styl­ized. The clipped dia­logue would be per­fect for the screen, and per­haps the author exag­ger­ates this to tell the sto­ry the way a screen writer might live it. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, it keeps us at a dis­tance and Daniel and his ordeals remain superficial.
Sara Leopold Spin­nell is a co-founder of Trav​elu​jah​.com, a web­site that pro­motes Chris­t­ian trav­el to Israel. She lives in New York City with her hus­band and two children.

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