Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Favorite Books of 2012 Released Today
The World Without You
By Joshua Henkin
Today is the release of one of my favorite books so far for 2012.
The World Without You. I had posted my thoughts on my other blog a few weeks ago. I am re-posting here for the celebration of the release of The World Without You.
The World Without You, was given to me by the author a few months ago. I was very excited to receive this novel.
He is a large promoter of book clubs. He was one of the first author's when I started our book club to ask if he would do a conference call, for his novel Matrimony. Unfortunately, that did not work out.
I just love how he believes in book clubs and goes out of he's way to support book clubs. If you don't believe me, check out he's website. He will come to your book club if you live in the metro NYC area That is pretty impressive.
It is fourth of July weekend in the Berkshire Mountains. A Jewish family, the Glucksman's. have come together for a very unhappy reunion. They all have come from different parts of the country, and Israel for Leo's unveiling at their parents home in the Berkshires. .
Leo was a daredevil, and only son of three other sisters of the family. He was always trying to make the rights of the world. He was living with his free spirit girlfriend, Thisbe in California. Eventually they were married and had a child, named Calder. Thisbe never felt accepted by Leo's parents. She always felt like a outcast.
His parents, Marilyn and David have been married for years. They have a winter home in the upper east side of New York City, and have a summer home in the Berkshires.
During the reunion, something slips about Marilyn and David. This will change the family dynamics for good.
Then there are the three sisters, and their husbands. Oh, what pairs they make for each other.
Clarissa, Lily, and Noelle.
Clarissa, the older sister watched over Leo. She was proud of her younger brother and hovered over him. When she got married she did not know if she wanted to become a parent or not. But, her husband Nathaniel has convinced her to have children. Now, for the sake of their marriage she wants children.
On the eve of the reunion, she learns the news about her and her husband's fertility issues. Can she? or can't she? Then there is the issue of Clarissa trying to show up her husband, he won a prize for teaching. Her sister Lily thinks she is trying to show off.
On the drive up to the Berkshires, she was suppose to pick up Noelle and her husband and small children, they were traveling from Israel. Instead Lily, came through.
Clarissa made some kind of excuse, but she had Nathaniel had to stop at one of the sleezy hotels, as this was the best time to have sex according to the fertility stick. You just knew this was what was going to happen. It flowed with the story. I was cracking up, laughing.
Noelle, is the youngest sister to Leo. She is a observant Jew, living in Israel with her young children, and her husband Amram. At one time she was not observant. She lived in New York City. She was not a studious student, she was the lost soul, she was playing around with every guy she could meet. She, and her future husband went to the same school, but didn't know each other.
She decided she wanted to go to Israel. She kept bumping into this young man that she knew in the United States. They would meet each other every Shabbat at the Rabbi's house. But, she was not a observant Jew then, and either was her future husband. Until they repeatedly would show up at the Rabbi's home for Shabbat dinner.
Something rubbed off on both of them. They both wanted to become observant Jews. With the long skirt, no leg showing, or elbows, and wearing a wig,
Noelle, was the last person to see Leo alive. He spent Shabbat dinner with them and then left for Iraq.
Where he was captured, and eventually killed. She was the jealous sister. Always ratting on each of them and was jealous of each of their accomplishments. It felt like she regretted her decision to become observant. Noelle spills the beans again about something. SHE JUST HAD TO TELL!! To make that person look bad.
Then there is Lily, she is very independent, and self reliant. She lives in Washington D. C. with her boyfriend Malcolm. He works in a restaurant. They are both hoping he will own a restaurant soon. During this time.
The grandmother, Gretchen is hidden in the story till the end. Until Noelle's husband. flips out and leaves and doesn't come back for the unveiling. Avram goes to New York City, not sure if it was to bring Gretchen the grandmother to the unveiling or for some other reason. But, Noelle, was worried sick where he is, because he did not come back for a few days. Then there is FIREWORKS, Actually, in this book there is plenty of fireworks.
There are many hidden surprises during this weekend. Actually this story reminded me of Jonathan Tropper's novel, This is Where I Leave You. in both novels there is a death, there is a reunion, and family troubles too. But that is where the similarities stop. Each of those characters were mean spirited. This novel, was still emotional and they still loved each other.
My Review: I am sorry, but I had to tell the entire story this time. There are plenty of spoilers.
This was a terrific read. If I am going to read a book, on character study or family dynamics it has to hit me like a ton of bricks, and has to captivate me. Well, it did, right from the get go.
The story grabbed me, and did not let me go. I wanted to know what happened to the characters. There were characters I loved, and others not so much. Not because the author did a terrible job. But, because the story was that good. The story flowed, and I did not feel like I had to flip back a few pages to comprehend, because sometimes character driven novels sometimes make me distracted.
There were times I was thinking of my brother, because my brother is a photojournalist for the Army Times. The family's fears were the same thought that go through my brain. Fearing for my brother's when he is in Afghanistan or Iraq can be near wrecking especially when I hear what is going on over there. He was in Iraq in the beginning when he crossed over into Iraq. That was quite scary, and I was scared for him.