"'The Rubin family, everybody agrees, seems doomed to happiness'" Claudia Rubin is in her heyday. Wife, mother, rabbi and sometime moral voice of the nation, everyone wants to be with her at her older son's glorious February wedding. Until Leo becomes a bolter and the heyday of the Rubin family begins to unravel . . . 'As intelligent as it is ...
"'The Rubin family, everybody agrees, seems doomed to happiness'" Claudia Rubin is in her heyday. Wife, mother, rabbi and sometime moral voice of the nation, everyone wants to be with her at her older son's glorious February wedding. Until Leo becomes a bolter and the heyday of the Rubin family begins to unravel . . . 'As intelligent as it is funny. A beautifully observed literary comedy as well as a painfully accurate description of one big old family mess' " Observer" 'Fast-paced and engaging. Brilliant, touching and true' Naomi Alderman, " Financial Times" 'Absolutely spellbinding, so funny, so moving, so totally believable' " Jacqueline Wilson" 'Intelligent and witty. The Rubin family may be a singular one but the delights and the difficulties its members have with sex and spirituality, food and domesticity, expectation and achievement, will have a universal appeal' "Sunday Telegraph" 'Funny and emotionally true, this is a comedy with the warmest of hearts and the most deliciously subversive of agendas' Book of the Month, " Marie Claire" "When We Were Bad" is a warm, poignant and true portrayal of a London family in crisis, in love, in denial and - ultimately - in luck.
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Publishers Weekly, 2007-06-11 With humor and panache, British writer Mendelson (Love in Idleness) presents London's Rubin clan, presided over by matriarch Claudia, a brilliant, charismatic London rabbi blessed with zaftig curves and a will of steel. Claudia seems to have molded nebbishy husband Norman and their four children into the perfect family. But as the plodding eldest, Leo, leaves the altar to run off with his mistress, the fault lines are exposed: next-eldest Frances eventually admits to her despair about her dutiful marriage and her lack of maternal feeling, and even colorless Norman turns out to have a guilty secret. Claudia, however, must preserve the myth of a perfect family because it's the basis of her about-to-be published memoir, "a moral and ethical handbook for families of the new millennium." What makes Mendelson's novel especially naughty are her candid observations about the "crouching, self-loathing way" that many English Jews try to fit into Anglo society while simultaneously maintaining their traditions: Claudia's seder, for example, is a comic set piece of frantic preparation and grim hospitality. But while the social satire is deft, the action upon which Mendelson hangs it veers into farce. And with the introduction of imminent tragedy, the plot abruptly crashes. (Aug.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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