BLOOD RELATIONS by Roberta Silman
Kirkus Star


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Like Elizabeth Cullinan, Silman intuits, in these sixteen stories, the intimate languages and ritual silences of Family--parents and children, brothers and sisters--and the investments of love and governance made in each other's lives. Silman's middle-class, New York Jewish families are moored in second-generation stability. Yet there are the grandparents, guests at the wedding, who bear the burden of transfer and continuity. One grandfather, alien, awednspiring, is majesticaUy tyrannical; another, a gentle man, tentatively probes back into his youth in Russia, with its nagging danger and lost promise. Grown-up children and their fathers confront separation: in ""Debut,"" the parent of a successful pianist recognizes the end of his guardianship; a young mother, mourning her own mother's death, accepts her father's inevitable, lonely, long ""Running"" to the end; and, in ""Wedding Day,"" ceremony seals the movement of generations but not the bewilderment of parting. The devotion of brother for sister, of young women for their ill or dying young, underscores the need to be sustained by those we nourish. In ""Rescue,"" a husband and father, out of work, immobilized, persists in celebrating before his strained family his one potent act--saving a life. And there is the deeply moving story of a widow, wracked by family tragedy, who is driven to the demeaning violence of petty thievery. Commitment to family animates each dialogue and gathering--from the dark parlors of the old to the cluttered rooms of remembered childhoods. Several of these stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1977
Publisher: Atlantic/Little, Brown