Waiting for Next Week

Michele Orwin, Author Henry Holt & Company $0 (191p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0517-2
In this first novel about a young woman confronting her own feelings while her mother is dying of cancer, there is a wonderfully rendered sense of the unresolved nature of most family relationships. Beth and her brother Billy are drawn together by their imperfections, while Grim and Sharon, the older ""good'' children, are more remote and disconnected. But not one of the four adult siblings is prepared to face the situation head on, and each must struggle to resolve his own problems while standing by helplessly as their mother Naomi begins to die. While not a large novel in any sense, Waiting for Next Week offers a knowing and well-crafted portrait of an urban Jewish family in extremis, and the dialogues and characterizations ring absolutely true. In describing her parents' attitude about health and hospitals, the narrator muses: ``To them the hospital was more like a hotel they'd booked through a bad travel agent; it lacked bellhops and room service and an attentive concierge. The service was poor, the staff hostile. Still, they expected extra towels and the room made up during breakfast. If you know how to ask, Naomi used to instruct all of us, it's not hard to get what you want. She still believed if she could just be charming and gracious enough the doctors would be won over and she'd be sent home with a clean bill of health.'' Orwin has a discerning eye and an acute ear, and this novel is a promising debut. (April)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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