THE MARKOFF WOMEN by June Flaum Singer


Email this review


A carelessly anachronistic period-novel (1880-1938), by the author of The Movie Set (1984) and other sexsational soapers. This, however, is a more sedate effort, all about Eve, queen of a Russian shtetl (who winds up, furred, on Fifth Avenue) and her son Yitzhak, who, until his penitential later life, had, in the US, turned his back on his Jewish identity and on the selflessness of Eve. When beautiful, educated Eve Brodkin is forced to marry David, timid youngest son of crude, rude Chaim Markoff, she vows revenge. But once part of Chaim's household of cowed sons and miserable women, Eve decides to (l) make a man of David, (2) take down Father a peg or two, and (3) do some consciousness-raising among her sisters-in-law (""I could not swear the Almighty wears a man's face""). In addition to accomplishing all this, Eve will save a Count's child, teach, and start a clinic to help David (now not only a strong man but a ""bomb thrower"") in his revolutionary activities. But then young son Yitzhak, brawny but no scholar, kills an official. He's sent alone to America (Eve's deferred dream for the family) in 1898, where he'll have three name changes, work in a brewery and on the railroad, court lovely Jennie (whom he loses because of her father's religious orthodoxy), and be seduced into marrying plain Anne Hess. He'll begin his climb to riches as ""James Markson."" Now a wealthy man in Galveston, Texas, his spoiled, ruthless daughter Ava is his only joy--until that letter from Palestine, eventually his destination. Oh, yes, he does see his mother Eve, from a distance, with his two new brothers, but he sadly (gulp) walks away unseen. A familiar shtetl-to-assimilation-and return tale, here told with little sense of place or period. Still, there's an insatiable audience for the genre.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1985
ISBN: 0595090613
Publisher: Evans