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General Note: There are 2 different versions of the genealogical chart, 1 in English, the other in Hebrew.
Summary, etc.: Through one woman's life at a moment of surprising change, the award-winning author Goldie Goldbloom tells a deeply affecting, morally insightful story and offers a rare look inside Brooklyn's Chasidic community. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just a block or two up from the East River on Division Avenue, Surie Eckstein is soon to be a great-grandmother. Her ten children range in age from thirteen to thirty-nine. Her in-laws, postwar immigrants from Romania, live on the first floor of their house. Her daughter Tzila Ruchel lives on the second. She and Yidel, a scribe in such demand that he makes only a few Torah scrolls a year, live on the third. Wed when Surie was sixteen, they have a happy marriage and a full life, and, at the ages of fifty-seven and sixty-two, they are looking forward to some quiet time together. Into this life of counted blessings comes a surprise. Surie is pregnant. Pregnant at fifty-seven. It is a shock. And at her age, at this stage, it is an aberration, a shift in the proper order of things, and a public display of private life. She feels exposed, ashamed. She is unable to share the news, even with her husband. And so for the first time in her life, she has a secret--a secret that slowly separates her from the community. Goldie Goldbloom's On Division is an excavation of one woman's life, a story of awakening at middle age, and a thoughtful examination of the dynamics of self and collective identity. It is a steady-eyed look inside insular communities that also celebrates their comforts. It is a rare portrait of a long, happy marriage. And it is an unforgettable new novel from a writer whose imagination is matched only by the depth of her humanity.
Language Note:
There are 2 different versions of the genealogical chart, 1 in English, the other in Hebrew.
Subject: Life change events Fiction
Hasidim Fiction
Married people Fiction
Families Fiction
Secrecy Fiction
Self-realization in women Fiction
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) Fiction
Genre: Jewish fiction.
Domestic fiction.

Syndetic Solutions - Publishers Weekly Review for ISBN Number 0374175314
On Division : A Novel
On Division : A Novel
by Goldbloom, Goldie
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Publishers Weekly Review

On Division : A Novel

Publishers Weekly


(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

A secret sparks a path toward self-discovery in Goldbloom's revelatory latest (after The Paperbark Shoe), set amid the Hasidic community in contemporary Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood. At 57, Surie Eckstein is the mother of 10 children, a grandmother to 32, and is about to become a great-grandmother for the first time. Then she discovers that she is pregnant--with twins. Surie is ashamed to reveal her pregnancy, lest she be judged for maintaining a sexual relationship with her husband long past customary childbearing age; she feels she can't even reveal her secret to her husband, Yidel, a prominent scribe. Surie fears that Yidel's desire to maintain the family's reputation--previously harmed by their son Lipa's estrangement from their family and community--might cause him to shun the babies, or Surie herself. Instead of turning toward her community for support, then, Surie looks outside it, beginning to imagine a different future for herself and for some of the younger women in her life: "Instead of her usual terror, there was this new thing, a cautious curiosity about the world." Goldbloom writes about Surie's community fondly but also critically, examining both the kindness and the intolerance that can arise when a group separates itself from the world around it. Goldbloom's portrait of a woman on the verge of claiming her own agency even after she thought all her life's questions had been answered makes for fascinating, stirring reading. (Sept.)

Syndetic Solutions - BookList Review for ISBN Number 0374175314
On Division : A Novel
On Division : A Novel
by Goldbloom, Goldie
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BookList Review

On Division : A Novel

Booklist


From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.

Surie Eckstein is a pillar in her Chasidic neighborhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She and her husband, Yidel, are the parents of 10 and the grandparents of 32. A breast-cancer survivor, Surie basks in the warmth of her teeming household, but she is haunted by the death of a son, whose tragic tale slowly emerges, and burdened with a mortifying secret: at 57 she is pregnant, with twins. As the months go by, marked by exuberant celebrations of Jewish holidays, Yidel remains strangely oblivious, and Surie envisions new possibilities as her midwife trains her to assist at the clinic. But Orthodox women are not allowed to be so worldly, and Surie fears the consequences for her family. Goldbloom's intimate descriptions of domestic hubbub, emotional tumult, and nature's vibrancy deepen this authentic and suspenseful portrait of a strong, conflicted woman. Award-winning novelist and LGBTQ activist Goldbloom, who is Chasidic and a mother of eight, vitally portrays the complex dynamics and paradoxes of a strictly regimented, unforgiving, yet loving religious enclave, and imaginatively and boldly explores the divide between tradition and compassion, community and self.--Donna Seaman Copyright 2010 Booklist


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