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the nation-building project, nor can they be found in the claiming of

a homeland. Rather, he realizes “[His] homeland is in [his] hat. It’s

in [his] ex-wife’s tote bag” (368); that is, his homeland is not

ordained by God in accordance with the covenant of Jewish election.

His homeland is the result of his marriage with a woman whom he

sometimes thinks he can fully understand and whom he sometimes

considers to be a total stranger. There are too many disruptive

contingencies which make it impossible for him to manage his

marriage with Bina; nor are there clear guidelines to assist him in

shaping their impossible life together. Their life together as a

married couple is similar to the covenantal relationship between the

Jews and God, as “Every couple’s life is structured around a set of

shared and often nonsensical rules and patterns that they would

never admit to an outsider” (Santner, 2001: 120). Landsman can

only find his way home when he is willing to engage with everyday

life, to tackle those contingent, random, unruly, aspects of his

relations and interact with his intimate but also strange others.

It is this willingness to accept mastery as delusional and

contingency as the “norm” of life that allows Landsman, at the end

of the novel, to embrace the marriage plot, obeying an inner voice

that tells him to demand and even enact a new kind of justice, one

that affirms not the supremacy of either Jewish exceptionalism or

American exceptionalism, but the exceptionality of the singular and

the contingent. In re-bonding with his estranged wife, Landsman

exits the statist form of the creaturely condition. What Landsman

realizes is that, once he learns to suspend the law, once he breaks the

structure of identification

nationalist, religious, or ethnic, he

encounters the “something within himself”

or the miraculous


that frees him from the crippling entanglements of

guilt, of having fallen short of expectations.

At the end of the novel, Landsman is finally free from the

burden of nationalism, even though the terrorist conspiracy still

looms ahead and he is still stateless. Nevertheless he gains a “home”

bounded by his renewed faith in love and language. Even though