Wednesday, November 25, 2009

178 - Away; Amy Bloom

AWAY; Amy Bloom (audio book)
Pub. Date: August 2007

Away is the story of Lillian Leyb, who was just 22 years old when her parents and husband are murdered in a Russian pogrom in 1924.  Lillian is spared, but she is haunted by constant nightmares of the past.  At the time, Lillian had a 3 year old daughter, Sophie, who she told to hide in a shed while her family was being targeted. She never saw her daughter after that day.

Lillian is sent to stay with a relative in New York City.  An immigrant in a big city, she must learn to speak English, but she is tough minded and determined.  She does what she has to do to survive.  Lillian gets a job as a seamstress at a Yiddish theater in NYC, even though she can't sew. When Lillian's cousin arrives from Russia and tells her that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on a two year journey that takes her from  New York's Lower East Side, to Chicago, Seattle's Jazz District, and up to Alaska,toward Siberia.

MY THOUGHTS -  The audio book was read by Barbara Rosenblat, and she was terrific. I liked this book, and my only complaint about it was that all of the characters seemed more developed than Lillian. Her character fell short. She meets some memorable people along her journey: a prostitute from Seattle's Skid Row, and a man who is on the run from an accidental killing and living in the Yukon.  The prose was lovely; at times touching, sometimes heartbreaking,  and sometime funny too. Lillian's setbacks, near death situations, and a vivid sense of place along the way made for an interesting audio book experience. RECOMMENDED


  1. This sounds like a book I would love. I love the cover but, from the description, doesn't seem to fit the book.

  2. I was surprised (and disappointed) that I had trouble getting into this book. Eventually, I gave up on it. Everyone seems to love it, though. Maybe it was just the wrong time for me. Maybe I'd like the audio better. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. This sounds like a fascinating story -- I appreciate your honest review.

  4. Boy, I didn't care for this one at all. I think it was mostly because I didn't like Lillian at all but I really didn't connect with any of the characters.

  5. I appreciate your review of this book. I'm not sure this is a book for me, though.

  6. I am glad that you liked this one. It has been on my wish list for quite awhile, and I have heard really good things about it. Great review!


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