“A stone-cold masterwork of psychological tension. Its final pages had me holding my breath.” —Flynn Berry, New York Times Book Review
The seemingly inexplicable estrangement between a woman and her grown daughter opens up a troubling question: What damage do we do in the blindness of love?
Thousands of miles from home, a woman stands on a dark street, peeking through well-lit windows at two little girls. They are the grandchildren she’s never met, daughters of the daughter she has not seen in years.
At the center of this mesmerizing story is the woman’s quest to understand how a relationship that began in bliss—a mother besotted with her only child—arrived at a point of such unfathomable distance. Weaving back and forth in time, she unravels memories and long-buried feelings, retracing the infinite acts of parental care, each so mundane and apparently benign, that in ensemble may have undermined what she most treasured. With exquisite psychological precision, Blum traces the seemingly insignificant missteps and deceptions of family life, where it’s possible to cross the line between protectiveness and possession without even seeing it—and uncertain whether, or how, we can find our way back.
In Israeli writer Blum's moving English-language debut, an Israeli woman named Yoella contends with her estrangement from her daughter, Leah, who left home at 18. A painful scene sets the stage, with an older Yoella standing on a street in contemporary Groningen, in the Netherlands, surreptitiously peeping through the windows of Leah's house to see her two granddaughters, ages six and five, for the first time. Yoella then recounts meeting an older professor named Meir Driman when she was 30. She tells him about her father's death when she was a teenager and her episodes of depression, and soon the two become romantically involved and have Leah. She's much loved by both of her parents, but Meir sometimes thinks Yoella doesn't give Leah enough space to grow on her own and gain independence. Yoella in turn fears Meir will leave them after he has a short-lived affair with a student. In high school, Leah falls in love with a classmate who rejects her, setting off a cascade of misunderstandings that lead to disaster. Blum builds a great deal of suspense over what caused Leah to flee, and she creates a realistic portrayal of the joys, sorrows, and uncertainties of motherhood. This one hits hard.
Brilliant and disturbing novel of suffocating love
Blum lost her nerve at the wrong moment; this novel wasn't ready to be over...but she's a sensational novelist and the translation feels exactly right.
I don’t get it - disjointed, pointless and unresolved
I found this to be a boring tale that went nowhere. Too bad, the premise is interesting, but the book wasn’t