THAT YEAR OF OUR WAR by Gloria Goldreich


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 In some of her other novels concerning heroic and/or striving women (Mothers, 1989, etc.), Goldreich's characters lean toward the floridly sentimental in word and deed. There's no lack of emotion in this story of WW II's effect on a large, cohesive Jewish family in Brooklyn, but its pervasive, touching warmth never seems overdone. ``I loved being surrounded by family....It was a bastion against loneliness. It was a fortress of kindness in a world beset by cruelty,'' comments Sharon Grossberg, who loses her mother to leukemia on D-Day--''Death Day'' to the 15-year-old girl. In the year that follows, living in a busy household of loving relatives, Sharon works through her grief and worries about her father, a doctor stationed overseas. Cherished but isolated, Sharon observes and keeps secrets: the philandering of an uncle; the pregnancy of lovely new bride Cousin Beth, who insisted on the joys of marriage, however brief; an aunt's tragic past; the quiet rebellion of a musical prodigy. She participates in the bittersweet joy of a wedding in hard times, family feasts, music and the cacophony of arguments in crowded living rooms, visits to an aunt's home in Woodstock, New York, where winter brings snow and sleds, summer a drift of artists. She gains some perspective on her own sorrows from the tales of the refugees who gather at her grandfather's home on Saturdays, keening for loved ones left behind in Europe to suffer Hitler's persecutions. A treat for Goldreich's followers, particularly those who remember that year themselves. (Literary Guild alternate selection)

Pub Date: May 2nd, 1994
ISBN: 0-316-31943-0
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1994


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