Nancy Reisman deftly portrays the love, grief, desires, and deceptions that ultimately bind one American family together.
Interesting bacground and story in Buffalo during the 20's thru today of 5 emebers of a Jewish family
I read and enjoyed this book, but can't remember anything about it.
From Publishers Weekly :
Reisman's first novel (after the prize-winning collection, House Fires) is mesmerizing, ...........Reisman demonstrates a rare, poetic understanding of family dynamics. The catalyst for this narrative about the hidden dramas of a Jewish family living in Buffalo from the late 1920s to 1950 occurs offstage. Rebecca Cohen, wife of jewelry store owner Abe, has died, leaving five adult children. Goldie, the eldest, on whom the responsibility for caring for her siblings has fallen, suddenly disappears without a word. Her departure leaves Sadie Cohen Feldstein, the only married sister, to cope with her tyrannical father and difficult siblings, who live together in the family home. Celia is mentally unstable, prone to misbehavior in public. Jo is rude, moody and fiercely resentful of having to protect Celia. Handsome, spoiled Irving is a wastrel and compulsive gambler, too fond of cards, whiskey and women. Abe, the paterfamilias, escapes his family into the arms of Lillian Schumacher, a fallen woman. Goldie's disappearance is also an escape, though the family fears she is dead. Irving escapes his gambling debts by joining the army in 1940. The others yearn to flee their responsibilities, but the years roll by until another family crisis brings Goldie home. The echoing word in the narrative is loneliness, used to signify each character's inchoate longings for connection, understanding, "touching" (another signal word) and love. Reisman writes with beauty and precise imagery; she describes one character's personality as "carp under ice, nibbling ancient disappointments." This realism, subtly laced with tenderness and compassion, distinguishes a novel whose addictive embrace continues after the last page has been turned.
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