As Close To Us As Breathing (Thorndike Press Large Print Reviewers' Choice)

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9781410490773: As Close To Us As Breathing (Thorndike Press Large Print Reviewers' Choice)
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Enjoying summertime weeks of freedom at a popular Jewish beach with their children, beautiful Ada thrives away from her strict husband, while chef Vivie develops diplomatic skills, and unmarried Bec is forced to choose between family beliefs and her passion for a married man.

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Review:

An Amazon Best Book of March 2016: Reviewers of this wonderful, moving novel will surely compare it to the works of Allegra Goodman, whose Kaaterskill Falls, in particular, introduced many readers to the world of ultra-observant Jewish families, their traditions and their guarded relationship with the secular, non- Jewish society. And this book does follow some of the same themes. But as I read it (in two obsessive sessions--remember binge-reading?), the book it more readily brought to mind was To Kill a Mockingbird. Like the late Harper Lee’s masterpiece, As Close To Us as Breathing, revolves around the events of one summer, is told from the point of view of a pre-adolescent girl, and shows how a single terrible event forever changes her, her family and her community. “The summer of 1948 my brother Davy was killed in an accident,” 12 year old Molly says on page 1-- and so I was hooked. Yes, of course, I wanted to know the hows and whens and wheres of what happened to this little boy, whom we come to know as a beloved annoyance to his siblings--they actually call him “squirt” sometimes. But what held my attention as much as the wondering about Davy was the unfurling of the back story of this matriarchal family. Set on a strip of Connecticut beach that welcomed Jews at a time when most did not--it was affectionately known as Bagel Beach--Davy’s mother and her two adult sisters share a cottage with their children for the summer. (The men, involved in a family business in New Haven, only come on weekends.) And what wonderful, proud, competitive, loving and demanding women these sisters are! One of them is married to another’s old boyfriend, one is having a love affair with a goy (non-Jew), all are trying to preserve their traditions and still live their lives. Occasionally, readers may be confused about exactly what is happening when--Molly is narrating as a modern adult, the story goes back and forth over several decades-- but that’s a minor quibble in a novel this layered and deep. As Close to Us as Breathing is full of characters who are at once typical and original and whose story of faith, guilt and family is timeless. --Sara Nelson

About the Author:

Elizabeth Poliner is the author of "Mutual Life & Casualty," a novel-in-stories, and the forthcoming collection of poems, "What You Know in Your Hands." Her stories and poems have appeared in "The Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, "and many other journals. A recipient of seven individual artist grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, she has also been awarded fiction scholarships to the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers' conferences. She teaches creative writing at Hollins University.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780316384131: As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0316384135 ISBN 13: 9780316384131
Publisher: Lee Boudreaux / Back Bay Books, 2016
Softcover

9780316384148: As Close to Us as Breathing: A Novel

Lee Bo..., 2016
Hardcover

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