Nancy Reisman The First Desire

ISBN 13: 9781400077991

The First Desire

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9781400077991: The First Desire
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When Sadie looks out her window and sees her bother standing on the front lawn she knows he can't bring good news. Fidgeting over coffee with sugar and cream he explains: Their sister is gone. Three days earlier Goldie left to go shopping and she has not returned. With Goldie's disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and Buffalo, New York, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. Shifting perspectives from siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving we learn of the secrets they have managed to keep hidden--and of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father took as a lover while his wife was dying. In this astonishing novel Reisman brings to life the love, grief, and desires that ultimately bind one family together.

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Review:

Told both in real-time and through flashbacks, The First Desire follows the Cohen family through several life changes, including the death of their mother, the birth of a child, financial hardships, and eventually World War II. While much of the novel is seen through the eyes of Sadie Cohen Feldstein, the second eldest and seemingly most responsible of the five Cohen siblings, debut novelist Nancy Reisman does an excellent job of getting into the heads and hearts of the remaining characters. For example, when Jo Cohen, the moody, withdrawn, almost masculine sister falls in love with a coworker, her desire is so vivid it seems almost tangible. Celia, the youngest sister who floats in and out of reality, is prone to moments of clarity that completely negate her role as the neediest, most vulnerable sibling. Finally, through Irving, the lone male in the group, Reisman shows the powerful effect that loneliness can have on the relationships that seem to matter most. Yet while each of these characters is revealed to be a juxtaposition of extremes, it is always family that draws them back in eventually. As Goldie says, "he is crossing the snow of the lawn, he is holding out his arms. Her life astonishes her: he is calling her name." --Gisele Toueg

From the Back Cover:

"Reisman writes beautifully, a prose of restraint and grace. The achievement of this novel is that you are completely inside it from the moment you begin . . . This is a story that has the shape of life as it is truly lived."
- Anna Quindlen, Book-of-the-Month Club News

"This is a stealth novel. The characters creep up on you, and before you know it you are inhabiting their world, attuned to intimate details, desires and desperate measures invisible to outside eyes. A lovely read."
- Ann-Marie MacDonald, author of Fall on Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies

"Nancy Reisman's first novel is an exquisitely detailed tapestry depicting a small era in the life of one family. How beautifully she writes about the subtle dramas that roil for decades among parents and siblings, about the ways in which the commitment of kinship can make people deeply, unavoidably intimate yet often just as blind to one another's vices, failings, and secret desires. It is a book written with the wisdom bestowed by heartbreak and the complex poetry of truth."
- Julia Glass, author of Three Junes

"I had been wondering for a while when I might be moved and completely engaged by a novel. The First Desire has broken a long dry spell. And for that I thank Nancy Reisman. What a gorgeous book she has given us. Every moment in The First Desire feels earned. Reading this novel is a rich, complicated, absorbing and altogether transformative experience: tears are still stinging my eyes. I love this book."
- Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

"Nancy Reisman has written a book in which the sentences are so lush, the characters are so vivid, and the story is so compelling, I felt I had stepped inside the world she created and had taken up residence. I want to tell you how much I loved it there. The First Desire is not a book to be merely read. It is a book to be lived."
- Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

"Like Virginia Woolf's The Years, this rich tapestry - a first novel, amazingly - captures both the overarching history of a family and the deepest emotions of each of its members. Reisman is a wonderful writer."
- Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever

"There is not a false move in Nancy Reisman's The First Desire, one of the best tales I have ever read both about belonging to a family and about what the book calls 'the second desire,' the wish to be invisible, to disappear from that family, and to vanish into the American landscape."
- Charles Baxter, author of The Feast of Love

"Nancy Reisman's The First Desire is, simply, the most beautifully written novel I've read in ages, a book that is as merciless and tender as real life. There's something of the work of Sue Miller and Alice Munro in this wonderful book: Reisman's characters are people who will live in your head for a long time after reading The First Desire. She writes better than anyone about the small heartbreaks and large tragedies of family life - what you give up to stay in a family, and what you give up to leave."
- Elizabeth McCracken, author of The Giant's House

"The First Desire is a debut novel of startling assurance and poise; it takes that complicated subject, family, and makes of it a layered skein and braided narrative. Nancy Reisman gives us characters who cross the continent and ocean, but the heart of this heartfelt story beats in Buffalo, New York. In prose both lyric and precise she offers a series of studies of women and men together, alone, and their several solos amount to a chorale. This is what Yeats meant by 'dying generations at their song,' and it should be widely read."
- Nicholas Delbanco, author of What Remains

"Nancy Reisman's is a gentle sensibility, an ostensibly soft impressionism that is also a hard, deft, precise, odd and dreamlike logic. The First Desire is as compelling as a dream, a good one, perfectly weird and true."
- Padgett Powell, author of Edisto

"The First Desire really is extraordinary work. The prose is consistently lovely - I'd say elegant or graceful, but somehow those over-used terms feel almost inadequate. There's a kind of shocking beauty to the sensuousness of the language - a startling gorgeousness that goes beyond mere elegance or grace. I suspect that's the key to the rich intimacy of the characterizations which lie at the core of the book. To get beneath the skin, to climb into the very hearts of such a range of figures, and at such a remove of years, is a remarkable achievement, and the spark breathed into these varied characters brings their family, their community, the whole mid-century bustle of Buffalo, to burning life. In short, this feels, to me at least, like the kind of book that can (and should) win prizes."
- Peter Ho Davies, author of Equal Love

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375423086: The First Desire: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0375423087 ISBN 13:  9780375423086
Publisher: Pantheon, 2004
Hardcover

9780786270422: The First Desire

Thornd..., 2004
Hardcover

9780739458068: The First Desire: A Novel

Pantheon, 2004
Softcover

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Book Description Anchor Books, United States, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. When Sadie looks out her window and sees her bother standing on the front lawn she knows he can t bring good news. Fidgeting over coffee with sugar and cream he explains: Their sister is gone. Three days earlier Goldie left to go shopping and she has not returned. With Goldie s disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and Buffalo, New York, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. Shifting perspectives from siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving we learn of the secrets they have managed to keep hidden--and of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father took as a lover while his wife was dying. In this astonishing novel Reisman brings to life the love, grief, and desires that ultimately bind one family together. Seller Inventory # APC9781400077991

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Book Description Anchor Books, United States, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.When Sadie looks out her window and sees her bother standing on the front lawn she knows he can t bring good news. Fidgeting over coffee with sugar and cream he explains: Their sister is gone. Three days earlier Goldie left to go shopping and she has not returned. With Goldie s disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and Buffalo, New York, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. Shifting perspectives from siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving we learn of the secrets they have managed to keep hidden--and of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father took as a lover while his wife was dying. In this astonishing novel Reisman brings to life the love, grief, and desires that ultimately bind one family together. Seller Inventory # APC9781400077991

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Book Description Anchor. Paperback. Condition: New. 320 pages. Dimensions: 7.9in. x 5.0in. x 0.8in.When Sadie looks out her window and sees her bother standing on the front lawn she knows he cant bring good news. Fidgeting over coffee with sugar and cream he explains: Their sister is gone. Three days earlier Goldie left to go shopping and she has not returned. With Goldies disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and Buffalo, New York, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. Shifting perspectives from siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving we learn of the secrets they have managed to keep hidden--and of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father took as a lover while his wife was dying. In this astonishing novel Reisman brings to life the love, grief, and desires that ultimately bind one family together. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9781400077991

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Book Description Anchor Books, United States, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. When Sadie looks out her window and sees her bother standing on the front lawn she knows he can t bring good news. Fidgeting over coffee with sugar and cream he explains: Their sister is gone. Three days earlier Goldie left to go shopping and she has not returned. With Goldie s disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and Buffalo, New York, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. Shifting perspectives from siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving we learn of the secrets they have managed to keep hidden--and of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father took as a lover while his wife was dying. In this astonishing novel Reisman brings to life the love, grief, and desires that ultimately bind one family together. Seller Inventory # LIE9781400077991

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