Richler is back, and with an elegant, ambitious, accomplished new work.
Toronto Globe and Mail
A hopeful testament to the power of family and memory, and the importance and meaning of one’s name.
Winnipeg Free Press
Richler’s third novel explores emotional devastation that lasts generations, delivering a powerful punch. In post-WWII Montreal, Canada, Lily Kramer, a young refugee, marries Nathan, the brother of the man with whom she had corresponded and who, after catching his first glimpse of his bride-to-be, refused to marry her. But Lily is no saint herself, and not who she portrays herself to be. Told in alternating chapters, Lily’s life after marrying Nathan is juxtaposed with the life of her daughter, Ruth, abandoned soon after she was born. Two notebooks and a mysterious diamond are all that remain for Ruth of her mother, along with a need to know the truth (“Could a person really lose her very sense of self because the world that formed and reflected that self back to her was destroyed?”). Richler—whose previous novel, Your Mouth Is Lovely, won the 2003 Canadian Jewish Book Award—perfectly captures Lily’s heartbreak and the secrets that she keeps. Chapter by chapter the wrenching secrets of the Kramer family peel away, until finally what Lily has hidden is revealed. Once the truth comes, it is heartbreaking.
Richler infuses her work with iconic images from the era she covers, painting a rich image of the Canadian Jewish community, their customs and family relationships, in a past century… A beautiful tale.
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