cover image Years of Dreams

Years of Dreams

Gloria Goldreich. Little Brown and Company, $21.95 (464pp) ISBN 978-0-316-31937-9

In an intense and passionate novel, Goldreich ( Leah's Journey ) chronicles the close, 20-year relationship begun when four remarkable young women meet in a New York City park the day President Kennedy is assassinated. Merle Cunningham is a promising violinist who is cosseted by her wealthy and devoted husband. Brilliant and acerbic Anne Richardson is determined to become a physician. Rutti Weisenblatt, a survivor of the Holocaust, nurtures her unstable mate while she attends art school. Nancy Yallon, married to an Israeli doctor, juggles priorities as she studies for her doctorate in psychology. Whie these early feminists are exhilarated to be in the vanguard of a new generation of independent women, they pay a heavy price for their achievements. Their husbands and, at times, their children are at best judgmental and, worse, unforgiving. Complex and fully realized, the women open windows on the major issues of the 1960s and '70: the war in Vietnam, student protests, Watergate. Particularly compelling are detailed scenes set in Israel during the Six Day and Yom Kippur wars. A rich and satisfying tale with a bitter, angry edge written by an adroit raconteur. (Apr.)