Jeremy struggles to write his dissertation on the Amish and the laws of expulsion. How does someone, excluded entirely from the only community they have ever known, live the rest of their life? After extensive interviews with Beulah--a young woman banished--Jeremy is no closer to understanding her choice than he is to his own peculiar exile.
Camp Ironwood, set in the Vermont woods, is more than a summer distraction for restless adolescent boys--it is a place to belong. And not unlike the Amish community, it is a place where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. For Jeremy, first as a camper and later as the co-director, the usual camp activities become their own kind of ritual that binds the community. But when he is blindsided by the seductive charm of Max, a fourteen-year-old boy from Manhattan, all arms and legs and attitude, Jeremy must confront his desires, and worse yet, uncover the dark secrets of his beloved Camp Ironwood.
In the powerful and daring novel Avoidance, Lowenthal elegantly draws unexpected parallels between the Amish and Camp Ironwood. By doing so, he ingeniously explores an age-old dilemma: individual desires versus the good of a community.