This first novel by Jessica Soffer is a work of beauty in words. There is no dead wood in this story; not a word is indispensable. Ms. Soffer is a master artist painting the hidden hues of the human soul. Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is an intelligent work in the vein of Azar Nafisi where the humanity of the characters transcends cultural or national differences and illustrates commonalities."
New York Journal of Books
Soffer's breathtaking prose interweaves delectable descriptions of food with a profoundly redemptive story about loss, self-discovery, and acceptance.
Teenage Lorca, who has been cutting herself since she was six, still can’t win the attention she craves from her beautiful and inaccessible mother, and so she concocts an impossible scheme to save herself from being sent to boarding school: She’ll re-create the best dinner her mother ever ate, featuring an Iraqi dish called masgouf that here is as fraught with significance as Babette’s feast. Lorca is a diligent dreamer, enlisting the help of a bookstore clerk named Blot and cooking lessons from a grieving Iraqi widow. But in this novel of shifting point of views, you want to linger longest with Lorca; both her shortcomings and her desires are so identifiable you can’t help but root for her.
[A] poignant story of love, acceptance and memory in the unusual pairing of an Iraqi Jewish widow haunted by the daughter she had given away four decades before and a young teen-age girl who yearns to bring satisfaction to her mother by learning to make a dish she seemed to yearn for. The two meet improbably and feed off of each other’s hopes and desires, as well as a over a mouth-watering menu of Iraqi culinary specialties. Beautifully written with a deep understanding of both woman and girl, the book is a first novel for Jessica Soffer, daughter of an Iraqi Jewish artist, whose imagination and versatility bode well for her future."
What makes a family? Where do we find our sustenance? Jessica Soffer examines the often debated questions with artful storytelling. She calls on all of our senses to consider the age old issue of nature vs. nurture. But food, laden with history and culture, the legendary path to the heart, is the medium. Mix in a very needy cast of characters and the recipe for a good tale is perfected.
Jewish Book World
Eighth-grader Lorca has been self-harming since she was six years old, lately to deal with pain she feels due to her distant mother [and]...absent father.... Lorca starts taking cooking lessons from Victoria, an Iraqi Jewish woman mourning the recent death of her husband.... Narrated in turn by Lorca and Victoria, with a few appearances from the late [husband], the novel shows their emotional bond developing as each faces uncomfortable truths. While the plot is thin and the prose dense, there are moments of charm and an ending that reveals the story to be more tightly wound than it appears.
(Starred review.) This powerful debut sheds light on the meaning and power of family, whether its members are blood-related or "created" by nonrelatives. Food is what strengthens relationships here.... However, it is not just the love of food but understanding and acceptance that help to make this such a lovely novel.... [A] charming book, which is as hopeful as its title. —Andrea Tarr, Corona P.L., CA
Told in Victoria and Lorca's alternating first-person voices, the character driven novel… offers fully realized, multidimensional characters who invite empathy and compassion.
A delectable tale of the families we choose...indeed, we root for all of Soffer’s rich and complex characters.
An unhappy teen and a shellshocked widow make a vital connection, though not the one they initially think, in Soffer's somber debut.... The plot twists are too obvious and the characters too predictable for the tentatively hopeful ending to be very persuasive. Well-written and atmospheric, but overdetermined and relentlessly grim.
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