This award-winning novel takes readers to postwar Israel, introducing them to a mother and daughter-in-law with an unusual relationship and offering a unique perspective on Jewish identity and experience.
About the Author
Simone Zelitch's first novel, The Confession of Jack Straw (1991), won the Hopwood Award. A graduate of the MFA program at the University of Michigan, she was a Peace Corps volunteer in Hungary. Zelitch, a recipient of a Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, currently teaches at Community College of Philadelphia.
“Talk about finding the silver lining. Here’s a novel that spans nearly 50 years of Hungarian Jewish historyfrom the empire of Franz Josef through World War II and the Holocaust to the early days of the state of Israeland transforms struggle and tragedy into an enthralling tale…while often poignant, the storytelling avoids melodrama, self-righteousness and graphic horrorall the pitfalls of Holocaust fiction. Instead, suspense, surprising revelations and dry humor enliven the mix…Of all the novel’s successes, the portrait of Louisa steals the show. Deftly, the author conveys the eerie tenacity and resourcefulness that lie behind her deceptively timid manner…a stunningly good work: highly imaginative, impressively constructed, erudite yet genuinely moving.”The New York Times Book Review
“Zelitch’s talent shines in this well-paced epic novel, and the combination of Nora’s frank, realistic voice with romantic imagery is striking and beautiful.”Booklist (starred review)
“Zelitch’s narrative teases with emotional puzzles and surprises with unexpected developments. She shows virtuosic skill with background and atmosphere…While she demonstrates a sure grasp of history, Zelitch here transcends historical events with a provocative depiction of the enduring mysteries of human relationships.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Remember the genius with which Jane Smiley retold the story of King Lear and his daughters on a thousand acres of Iowa farmland? It is with the same such genius that Simone Zelitch transforms the Biblical story of the widow Naomi and her daughter-in-law Ruth. Louisa left me stuttering with admiration. What a fine book it is, and utterly compelling.”Bob Shacochis
“Masterful.”The Baltimore Sun
“Zelitch raises sharp questions about the nature of love and loyalty, never succumbing to easy answers. By the end of Louisa, everyone has changed in ways they could not have envisioned.”The Seattle Times
“Haunting…a provocative depiction of the enduring mysteries of human relationships.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Simone Zelitch’s ability to capture the essence of life in pre- and mid-Holocaust Europe…lends new insight to both stories.”Pearl Abraham
“Superb…a mature and absorbing story of sacrifice, illusion, and resignation, and an important contribution to the literature of Holocaust and Exodus.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A grand, brave, open-hearted novel…honest, intelligent, and highly entertaining.”The Boston Globe