cover image You Gotta Have Balls

You Gotta Have Balls

Lily Brett, . . Morrow, $24.95 (275pp) ISBN 978-0-06-050569-1

In this frank, entertaining novel, a father and daughter haunted by loss learn to reclaim meaning and passion in their lives. Australian author Brett brings back the cast of Too Many Men , including her heroine, Ruth Rothwax, a 54-year-old Jewish Australian running a successful corporate letter-writing business in New York. Ruth's husband, Garth, is currently away painting for six months, leaving her time to develop a women's support group, kick off a line of innovative greeting cards and hatch schemes to keep her irrepressible octogenarian father, Edek, out of trouble. But Edek has fantastical plans to open an exotic meatball emporium with the help of busty Polish émigré Zofia and her best friend, Walentyna. A Holocaust survivor, Edek is determined to enjoy the last chapter of his life, even if it means taking outrageous risks. For Ruth, years of downplaying her emotions (any difficulty pales compared to the Holocaust's horrors) has led to bottled-up anxiety, but handling Edek's exuberant brand of chaos now forces her to loosen up. Brett allows her very likable characters to wander down winding, comedic alleys, while the novel remains anchored by the serious subtext: the psychological impact of the Holocaust a generation later. The result is lighthearted but substantive novel. (June)