Monday, November 19, 2007

Stay Away from Bloom's new novel

Books now read in ’07: 108
Title: Away
Author: Amy Bloom
Genre: Fiction
Date Completed: 11-18
Pages: 335

In Amy Bloom’s new novel, Away, Lillian Leyb flees Russia for America after her parents and husband are slaughtered and her daughter disappears. Soon after her arrival in New York, Lillian finds herself looked after by an aging theater impresario and his son. The father loves Lillian. She represents “cover” for the son, who is gay.

Lillian’s life, and the novel, take an abrupt turn when she learns that her daughter may be alive and living in Siberia. She sets out determined to be reunited. Away recounts Lillian’s adventures en route, including vivid interludes in Seattle and Alaska. Bloom also steps away from her central story to provide the reader – at times in a few paragraphs, at others in a few pages – a summary of the fates of the men and women whose lives have intersected with Lillian.

Away is well written, but Bloom never makes the reader care for Lillian or her fate and ultimately the novel feels hollow and insignificant because of this lapse.

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