Story of the truly wandering Jew who escapes Russia and the pogroms leaving behind her murdered parents and husband and, she thinks, her 4 year old daughter. After finding a rather strange solution in the world of Yiddish theater on the lower east side (seamstress by day, mistress to a father and son team by night, things are starting to settle when she hears that her daughter may be alive in Russia. The rest of the story is the woman's travels across the United States to Alaska and eventually Siberia. On the way she meets a variety of characters who are charming and surprising (the Chinese grifter and the black prostitute stand out). Seems a little farfetched at times (think "the road" by McCarthy but a little less dark), lots of pretty titilating sex scenes, but as our Jewish, Russian wanderer makes it across the States, you get to tag along and it is certainly worth the journey!...Continua
A short synopsis of the story: A young Jewish woman, Lillian, loses her entire family in a murderous Jewish pogrom during 1920's Russia. Thinking her young daughter also died, she immigrates to the U.S. in search of a better life. After carving out a niche for herself in NY, she finds out that Sophie did not die, but was taken in by neighbors. Lillian takes on the daunting task of travelling back to Russia via the Bering Strait in order to reach Sophie.
Oh my. I have led a sheltered life. I haven't been accosted by men for sexual favors in exchange for food, shelter, transportation, or other every day things that I take for granted. This was a gritty story, hard to read in places. At times, it put me in the mind of the Rolling Stones' lyrics "you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need." At times the story was told from an omniscient point of view, so the reader had the luxury of knowing the fate of all the characters. It wasn't sewn up neatly, but competently. Lillian experienced staggering loss, but she also found great fulfillment....Continua
Young Jewish widow Lilian sets off to America to live a new life after her whole family was murdered in Russia. The novel starts as an immigration tale while Lilian becomes a mistress of a father and a son. As she's living her luxurious life in America, one day her cousin tells Lillian that her daughter Sophie still survives. Driven by the maternal instinct, Lillian starts to travel from the U.S. to Siberia to look for Sophie. And the second half of the novel is all about her adventure.
The second half falls into bits and Bloom introduces a few characters to her readers. The narrative gets a bit complicated and a bit of a rush. There are always a million things happening but there's no psychological sketches of any of the characters. This is not an ordinary novel. Read only when you want to be challenged....Continua