When All Is Said and Done

Robert Hill, Author . Graywolf $20 (220p) ISBN 978-1-55597-442-8

A tightly crafted, emotionally resonant debut novel set in the 1950s and '60s skims the upwardly mobile lives of an unconventional Jewish family on the far edges of the New York suburbs. When Madison Avenue advertising executive Myrmy moves her growing family out of Brooklyn, she is directed away from the Waspy Charmington, Conn., to the less restrictive Eastly—for "people like you," the realtor advises. Thus begins an ambivalent life on Pink Cloud Lane for prefeminist working mother Myrmy, her steady GI husband, Dan (whose lungs were damaged in army radiation experiments), three sons hard-won after several miscarriages, and the indispensable nanny in nurse's whites. Hectic household rhythms and run-ins with the goyishe neighbors Ed and Mary Fence and their six daughters provide some comic relief until illness disrupts married life for Myrmy and Dan, who alternately narrate the novel. Myrmy weathers promotions and pneumonia, while Dan suffers from a burned-out thyroid and suddenly dies. With evocative, freewheeling prose ("the run-on sentences that were her married life"), Hill, an ad copywriter himself, nimbly salvages one family's striving from an era of grasping and consumerism. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 220 pages - 978-1-55597-494-7
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