21.7.14

AWAY, by Amy Bloom

Book reviews of this kind of writing are so simple. Fabulous book. Beautifully written, with every word polished to a surgical gleam. Worth reading for book clubs or people just wanting a mesmerizing, sometimes very funny, read. Tough and merciless; tender and touching. This is the story of Lillian Leyb, a Ukranian Jewish immigrant who comes to America and what happens to her. She's lost her entire family, parents and husband and her young daughter Sophia, during brutish sectarian violence. There's no place else to go but away when a relative gives her the name of another relative in New York City. And so she goes, in the bottom of the boat, as so many of her kind (the huddled masses) have done.
And, survivor that she is, Lillian manages to land herself in a better situation. Or is it? With the deceptive ease that the truly gifted writer displays, this book slides in the knife-edged observations about people, about life, about cruelty and hatred and love and obsession. But it also does it with wit and tenderness coupled with a ruthless, truthful eye. The funny moments will make you roar, particularly the sly, irreverent ones. The unexpected moments, the plot twists and turns, will catch you every time. It's a marvelous, mesmerizing 5. There's a small amount of necessary sex (what's life without sex?), let's call it a 1.5. This would be an absolutely perfect book group read.
www.amybloom.com