Sunshine and Salt Author:Sylvia Rothchild This story is about love--about family love and conjugal love, about the desires and hostilities that drive people apart, and about their need for a bridge to bring them together again. — The protagonoist is Madeline, the rebellious daughter who has escaped from the Brooklyn home of ther childhood and from the restrictions of traditional Jewish l... more »ife. She lives happily with her scientist husband and four young children in a small New England town, where everything --from the woods and fields to the bare white churches and spacious homes of her Gentile neighbors-- is as different as possible from the family background she has left behind her.
As the novel opens, the past intrudes into her haven. Madeline's father has just died. Madeline's mother is left alone, mourning the husband who was both her reason for exixstence. In the natural course of things, itis to her daughter's home that Celia Abrams comes to live. And Madeline now longs for reconciliations-- to make her mother understand, and share, her new life--as though this will justify all the rebellious years.
But to the elderly Mrs. Abrams, who has lived her whole adult life in the cramped, drab flat above her husbands tailor shop, Pineview is a terrifying wilderness in which everything is a subject for lament: "...the children hang from the trees like monkeys...there is no Sabbath in the whole week...milk and meat are thrown in the same pot...the nights are so black, like a cemetery--as good as buried alive!" She can neither share nor understand their plaesures--she is as irrevocably bound to the old as her daughter is to the new.
In a large sence, Sunshine and Salt illumines the real and imaginary barriers that divide generation from generation, city from townspeople, Gentiles from Jews--and its conclusion triumphantly affirms the power of love to bridge the barriers.« less