cover image Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound

Running Fiercely Toward a High Thin Sound

Judith Katz. Firebrand Books, $10.95 (186pp) ISBN 978-1-56341-019-2

This eclectic first novel about a Jewish family with three daughters unfolds through the female voices of the family; even the much-maligned mother is given the chance to speak and defend herself. Most of the plot concerns two of the sisters: Nadine, a troubled violin player, who has been estranged from her family since the Friday evening she set her hair on fire; and Jane, who is torn between her political identity as a lesbian and her family identity as a ``good daughter''--a conflict that comes to a head as she prepares to be maid of honor in the wedding of the third sister, Electa. Nadine and Jane's accidental meeting in New Chelm, the lesbian Jewish community in which they both reside, is the beginning of a series of events that eventually lead the sisters back to their family. A number of surprising and hugely comical turns keeps the story moving, although it slows down a bit during a trip through a mirror to a land where events in Jewish women's history reoccur and with the constant retelling of dreams. There is sorrow as well as laughter in this novel. At one point the mother reveals that her painstaking preparations for her daughter's wedding were the closest she could get to her childhood dream of becoming a rabbi. (Nov.)