Amy Bloom is the acclaimed author of three collections of short stories, Where the God of Love Hangs Out (Granta, 2010), Come to Me and A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, also published in one volume Rowing to Eden (Granta, 2015) and three novels, Lucky Us (Granta, 2014), Away (Granta, 2007), and Love Invents Us. She is the Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University.
Imagine Homer's Odyssey set in 1924 New York City, with Odysseus a 22-year-old woman who escaped the Russian pogroms only to try to make her way back in search of the daughter she left behind. Lillian Leyb arrives at the home of her cousin Frieda to begin her new life in America. She meets Yiddish theater impresario Reuben Burstein, his actor son, Meyer, and Reuben's friend, Yaakov Shimmelman, and the three men are instrumental to her education. Lillian becomes romantically involved with both Burstein men, but when she learns that her daughter, Sophie, was spared the fate of her husband and parents, the fate that causes her constant nightmares, Lillian begins a trek west, across the United States to Canada and Alaska and finally to Siberia. Her encounters broaden to include other men, a Seattle prostitute and her pimp, and prospectors and line operators along the Telegraph Trail. In earthy, less-than-genteel language, Bloom (Normal) draws a picture of a no-longer-innocent abroad whose mother-love never diminishes despite the hardships she endures. Bloom reveals the fates of all those Lillian leaves behind, and this knowledge is satisfying, even as Lillian trudges onward. Recommended for large fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/07.]-Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
'A tender, funny and wise novel' Marie Claire 'An urgent, riveting, fabulously entertaining road trip of a novel, Away grabs you by the throat from the first page to the last, breaks your heart and shakes all your senses awake' Emma Donoghue 'Proof that a thoroughly conventional novel can soar so long as the execution is extraordinary' Lionel Shriver, Guardian 'Celebrate mother-love with Amy Bloom's latest novel, Away' Vogue 'Harrowing, intense and deeply moving, this is a story about surviving the worst nightmares that history bequeaths us. I had to keep reading, willing Lillian to win through, and hoping that the strengths of courage, humour and kindness would prevail. Even as my hopes were realised, I was subtly reminded that this is a world where nothing can ever be quite certain or secure' Margaret Elphinstone
Rosenblat, who has narrated hundreds of books over the past 15 years, has a deep, clear, engaging voice and a mastery of cadence and inflection that projects wit and nuanced meaning. Rosenblat is renowned for her proficiency with accents-an important skill for Bloom's fifth novel, which includes all sorts of wonderfully complex human beings: Reuben and Meyer Burstein, scions of the 1920s Lower East Side Yiddish theater; Midwestern WASPS; and Seattle's "colored" lumpen. Lillian Leyb, a 22-year-old Yiddish-speaking immigrant whose parents and husband were brutally slaughtered during a Russian pogrom, is searching for her missing three-year-old daughter, Sophie. In New York, Lillian hears that Sophie has been seen with a family in Siberia. With her dictionary, thesaurus and a map, she sets out on her journey across America. Bloom's graphic, often witty and erotic descriptions of Lillian's adventures include a blow job exchanged for a free ride in the broom closet of a train; her odd friendship with Gumdrop, a "colored" prostitute whose pimp they accidentally murder; and, finally, her moving redemption through care and love. Away is a remarkable saga best experienced through Rosenblat's masterly interpretation. Simultaneous release with the Random House hardcover (Reviews, June 18, 2003). (July) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.