Sunday, January 29, 2012
Days of Love...and Lack Thereof, Day 4
I think that if you are making a list of romantic books, as devastating as she can be, you must include at least one Amy Bloom book. My Amy Bloom book is the epic tale Away.
Lillian Leyb’s parents, husband, and presumably her three-year-old daughter Sophie were brutally killed in Russia. Lillian escapes from Russia to New York in 1924 where she finds work as a seamstress in a Yiddish theatre. She soon becomes lovers with the lead actor of the troupe and his powerful father. After whispers that her daughter may still be alive and living in Russia, Lillian begins planning her trip back home. With little help, she begins an epic journey across the country: a train to Chicago, then to Washington, culminating with her walk across the Alaskan wilderness to find her daughter. This novel is incredibly rich with full three-dimensional characters that you won’t be able to forget. Away is one of the most powerful, well-written novels I have read, yet completely accessible. This novel may not be romantic in a Valentine sort of way, but trust me, it is romantic in a bold way.
Side note: Away was inspired by Lillian Alling who attempted to walk home to Russia from New York in 1927.
Ah, Cormac McCarthy. No one tells a love story quite like you. You're a modern Jane Austen. Who else could take a story of the bleakest post-apocalyptic world ever written and turn it into a love story? The Road is full of beautiful writing, charming scenery like that basement full of half-dead zombie people, passionate interactions with roving bands of humans who love romantic dinners of humans (mmm....cannabalism....), and the most wonderful ode to a soda ever written. Trust me, this novel is great. At its center are a father and son walking along a road with only a gun and two bullets to save them from true horrors. In spite of the bleak setting, The Road actually really is an uplifting story of parental love...even if you'll want to use that last bullet on yourself after reading it, it's just that upbeat.