"Away" is the extraordinary story of young Lillian Leyb. Her family destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way. In 1920s New York, she is taken under the wing of Mr Reuben Burstein, the famous Impresario and his matinee-idol son Meyer. But then her wily cousin Raisele arrives with some unexpected news ...
"Away" is the extraordinary story of young Lillian Leyb. Her family destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way. In 1920s New York, she is taken under the wing of Mr Reuben Burstein, the famous Impresario and his matinee-idol son Meyer. But then her wily cousin Raisele arrives with some unexpected news about Lillian's young daughter Sophie. Driven by a wild hope, Lillian sets off on an odyssey across America, travelling from New York's Lower East Side to Seattle's Skid Row and up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail towards Siberia. Amy Bloom's first novel for eight years revitalises the American road trip novel, from the perspective of a vulnerable but spirited woman. It paints a vivid, earthy and surprising picture of 1920s America, its smells and textures, its population of drifters and con artists, pimps and prostitutes. "Away" is storytelling at its finest - epic in sweep, but intimate and psychologically acute, moving but unsentimental. Like the novels of Sarah Waters, it is both richly authentic in its period detail, and fresh and contemporary in its style. But above all Bloom has created an unforgettable character in Lillian Leyb - her voice, haunted/damaged yet innocent, passionate, witty and unpretentious, is so believable and strong that her presence lingers long after the novel ends.
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