The Evil Incli­na­tion: A novel

September 1, 2021

Lev Liv­it­s­ki, devot­ed son and upright young man, walks the path of Jew­ish obser­vance until one day in col­lege, he encoun­ters Angela Pizat­to, a dark-haired knock­out. Sud­den­ly, what used to mean every­thing to him is no longer enough.

Angela pulls Lev from a prud­ish exis­tence into a pas­sion­ate romance that must remain a secret because she is Catholic and he is Jew­ish. As the lovers gal­li­vant through­out Brook­lyn, and as their devo­tion to each oth­er builds, they real­ize that they are head­ed toward a piv­otal cross­roads. Can they pos­si­bly over­come the insur­mount­able dif­fer­ences in their back­grounds? It’s a ques­tion they must con­front if they are ever to have a shared future.

Lay­ered into this love sto­ry are themes about iden­ti­ty and long­ing: how desire — what tra­di­tion­al Judaism calls the Evil Incli­na­tion — can define who we think we are. It’s a nov­el not only about the bur­dens of tra­di­tion clash­ing with the pow­er of pas­sion but also about the strug­gle to under­stand how the peo­ple we fall for can change us in pro­found and unex­pect­ed ways.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Daniel Victor