Dim-St. Pierre, Michelle. “Pinnacle Lust”, Michelle Dim-St. Pierre, 2015.
Love, Betrayal, Commitment
“Pinnacle Lust” takes place in Israel, during Operation Desert Storm, about an illicit affair that leads to great love, betrayal, and an unregretful commitment. Sharon Lapidot, a beautiful young nurse, is having an affair with a married doctor with whom she falls madly in love. As usually happens in affairs of this kind, mistakes were made and her life and world fall apart. However, she is a brave young woman and she leaves home only to find herself in another relationship. Her daughter upon reaching eighteen learns that the man who raised her was not her biological father
Her world is shattered by powerful and eroding mistakes, but her courage leads her to an unregretful commitment in a land far from home. It is only eighteen years later when her daughter discovers that the man who raised her is not her biological father.
Author Dim-St. Pierre was born and raised in Israel and served in the Israel Defense Forces as did I. This is the reason she can give such wonderfully accurate descriptions of the culture in Israel and she is even able to write about the religious factions in Israel that show the dichotomy of the religious and secular Jewish Israelis (and no that is not a redundant sentence.)
There are several themes running through the novel; among them are the power of love and the resilient human heart and spirit, the emotions that come to fore in an affair and how love and hate are divided by a very thin line. With these themes set against Operation Desert Storm, we are unable to predict where this novel is going.
By profession the author was a nurse and therefore could write from her own knowledge. We know that life is not programmed ahead of time and that there are constant changes that change the way we sometimes expect things to be. A lot of this depends upon the influence of religion that we all experience sometimes in our lives. Because Israel is the Jewish state, many people get the impression that the citizens are religious and nothing could be farther from the truth. Yes, there are religious Jews living in Israel (just as there are religious Jews living in America) but many Israelis who are Jewish by birth are secular when it comes to religion.
I have always maintained that in every book of fiction there is some truth. Since this is the first book that I have read by Dim-St. Pierre and the first book she has written, it is hard to tell what is based on real events and what is total fiction. There is no question and the author and the main character once shared the same profession but other than that I cannot tell. One thing for sure is that she knows Israel (and that was one of the things that drew me to this book). It was certainly obvious to me that Dim-St. Pierre’s nursing career and her personal having lived in Israel during Operation Desert Storm, is seen in her writing.
I was totally captivated by the characters of Sharon and her lover, Sloan. I had actually seen relationships like this happen in Israel—a young girl falls in love with a married man and once the excitement and the newness of the affair wears off, the woman settles into a kind of mistress who is used sexually and the thought of a relationship evaporates. While the woman wants to ask what is going on, she is afraid to “rock the boast” with the chance that she could lose the man. We see that Sharon and Sloan dance around the issues—each was afraid of losing the other. No plans were made for a future and all was left in the hands of time. Life went on and they lived it.
There is a scene that describes the holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, a holy day that has always frightened me. It is on this day that God supposedly decides how each will fare in the coming year. I have always found it to be a day filled with dread and fear—we are taught to believe that our own fates are taken out of our hands and become the responsibility of God, the very same God that stood by and allowed 6,000,000 Jews to die in the Holocaust. Sharon tells us that as she walked she heard “voices of silence” as Jews prayed and asked God for forgiveness and mercy. Yom Kippur is the one-day of the Jewish year that all Israelis (and Jews) allowed religion to dictate their decisions.
To write any more about the plot would be an injustice for those who have not yet read the book. Suffice it to say that this is not only a reading experience but an emotional one as well. I found myself weeping through some of the book and I was not only weeping for the characters for the state of Israel as well.