The Family Markowitz

Allegra Goodman, Author
Allegra Goodman, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-374-15321-2
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-0-671-01388-2
Paperback - 262 pages - 978-0-374-52939-0
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Goodman's voice is fresh and distinctive as she limns a wry, funny, touching portrait of an American Jewish family in a brilliantly observed, lovingly rendered novel composed of interlocking stories. Rose Markowitz, stubborn, outspoken, kvetching, a survivor and an individualist whose youth was spent in Vienna and London during WWII, is 73, living with her second husband in Manhattan, when we first meet her. He dies, and for most of the book, Rose, now in her 80s, copes with lonely widowhood in Venice, Calif., where her bachelor son, Henry, an art gallery manager, lures her to live. But soon he splits for Oxford, England, to become an Anglophile scholar and aesthete. Rose's other son, Ed, a Georgetown University historian of the Middle East and media pundit on terrorism, is, in Henry's eyes, a rank apologist for the PLO. Sarah, Ed's novelist/poet wife, is a frustrated fame-seeker, distracted from her writing by having to raise four children. Their daughter Miriam, a Harvard Med student, surprises her secular, liberal parents by embracing Orthodox ritual observance. Goodman (Total Immersion), who has published sections of this work in the New Yorker and Commentary, combines delicious comic set pieces with deeper meditations and conversations on Jewish identity, God, frazzled relationships and the breakdown of family life. (Sept.)
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