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The Resource Away : a novel, Amy Bloom

Away : a novel, Amy Bloom

Label
Away : a novel
Title
Away
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Amy Bloom
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
ALA Notable Book, 2008.
Review
  • With the same mesmerizing grace she brings to her award-winning short stories, Bloom's new novel sweeps the reader along from page one. The story begins in Russia in the 1920s. Lillian Leyb survives the massacre of her family and runs away to New York City to live with a cousin. Ever practical, she allows herself to become the mistress of a star of the Jewish theater, and although she's not happy, life is not so bad. However, when she finds out that her daughter Sophie may still be alive in Siberia, she leaves everything she has and begins the arduous journey home. She rides trains hiding in broom closets and servicing conductors. She climbs on boats and walks the Yukon trail headed for the Bering Strait and probably death. But she has to try. Full of pathos, humor, and often heartbreaking beauty, this novel tells the story of immigrant life and the caring of others without being maudlin or didactic. All characters are brilliantly and compellingly drawn. -- Dickie, Elizabeth (Reviewed 08-01-2007) (Booklist, vol 103, number 22, p31)
  • /* Starred Review */ Life is no party for Lillian Leyb, the 22-year-old Jewish immigrant protagonist of Bloom’s outstanding fifth novel: her husband and parents were killed in a Russian pogrom, and the same violent episode separated her from her three-year-old daughter, Sophie. Arriving in New York in 1924, Lillian dreams of Sophie, and after five weeks in America, barely speaking English, she outmaneuvers a line of applicants for a seamstress job at the Goldfadn Yiddish Theatre, where she becomes the mistress of both handsome lead actor Meyer Burstein and his very connected father, Reuben. Her only friend in New York, tailor/actor/playwright Yaakov Shimmelman, gives her a thesaurus and coaches her on American culture. In a last, loving, gesture after receiving word that Sophie is living in Siberia, Yaakov secures Lillian passage out of New York to begin her quest to find Sophie. The journey—through Chicago by train, into Seattle’s African-American underworld and across the Alaskan wilderness—elevates Bloom’s novel from familiar immigrant chronicle to sweeping saga of endurance and rebirth. Encompassing prison, prostitution and poetry, Yiddish humor and Yukon settings, Bloom’s tale offers linguistic twists, startling imagery, sharp wit and a compelling vision of the past. Bloom has created an extraordinary range of characters, settings and emotions. Absolutely stunning. (Aug.) --Staff (Reviewed June 18, 2007) (Publishers Weekly, vol 254, issue 25, p36)
  • 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 --Bette-Lee Fox (Reviewed May 15, 2007) (Library Journal, vol 132, issue 9, p77)
  • /* Starred Review */ A Russian Jewish woman's struggles to survive in America, then recapture the past brutally stolen from her, are recorded with eloquent compression in this striking second novel from NBA nominee Bloom (Normal: Transsexual CEOs, Crossdressing Cops, and Hermaphrodites with Attitude, 2002, etc.).In a brisk narrative of the events of two crowded years (1924-26), we encounter immigrant Lillian Leyb working as a seamstress on New York's Lower East Side, and becoming mistress to both theater owner Reuben Burstein and his homosexual son Meyer (a popular matinee idol). Lillian's stoicism masks the terror that haunts her in recurring dreams—of the massacre of her family by "goyim" revenging themselves on Jews sharing the meager resources of their village (Turov) and of the reported subsequent death of her beloved daughter Sophie. When another relative newly arrived in America reports that Sophie lives (having been rescued by a family that moved on to Siberia), Lillian embarks on a complex pilgrimage that takes her to Seattle and points north. She survives being robbed and beaten, bonds with a resourceful black prostitute, is sent for her own safety to a women's work farm by the one man (widowed constable Arthur Gilpin) who seems not to have sexual designs on her, then makes her way across the Yukon to the Alaskan coast, encountering a refugee exiled following an accidental killing, John Bishop, who will be either her last best hope of finding Sophie or the alternative to a life of ceaseless wandering and suffering. Summary doesn't do justice to this compact epic's richness of episode and characterization, nor to the exemplary skill with which Bloom increases her story's resonance through dramatic foreshadowing of what lies ahead for her grifters and whores and romantic visionaries and stubborn, hard-bitten adventurers.Echoes of Ragtime, Cold Mountain and Irving Howe's World of Our Fathers, in an amazingly dense, impressively original novel. (Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2007)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
169903
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1953-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Bloom, Amy
Index
no index present
Literary form
non fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Immigrants
  • Quests (Expeditions)
  • Theater, Yiddish
  • Lost children
  • Lower East Side (New York, N.Y.)
  • New York (N.Y.)
Label
Away : a novel, Amy Bloom
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
25 cm.
Extent
240 p.
Isbn
9781400063567
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2006049747
System control number
  • (Sirsi) o74354060
  • (OCoLC)74354060
Label
Away : a novel, Amy Bloom
Publication
Dimensions
25 cm.
Extent
240 p.
Isbn
9781400063567
Isbn Type
(alk. paper)
Lccn
2006049747
System control number
  • (Sirsi) o74354060
  • (OCoLC)74354060

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      85 Literary Lane, Newnan, GA, 30265, US
      33.38561 -84.669793
    • A. Mitchell Powell Jr. BranchBorrow it
      25 Hospital Road, Newnan, GA, 30263, US
      33.387732 -84.816797
    • Senoia BranchBorrow it
      148 Pylant Street, Senoia, GA, 30276, US
      33.297709 -84.561283

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