From the award-winning author of Leaving Lucy Pear, an unflinching, lushly imagined love story set against the backdrop of the epic frontier
Anna Solomon's new novel Leaving Lucy Pear is available now from Viking Books
When 16-year-old Minna Losk journeys from Odessa to America as a mail-order bride, she dreams of a young, wealthy husband, a handsome townhouse, and freedom from physical labor and pogroms. But her husband Max turns out to be twice her age, rigidly Orthodox, and living in a one-room sod hut in South Dakota with his two teenage sons.
The country is desolate, the work treacherous. And most troubling, Minna finds herself increasingly attracted to her older stepson. As a brutal winter closes in, the family's limits are tested, and Minna, drawing on strengths she barely knows she has, is forced to confront her despair, as well as her desire.
A Boston Globe Best Seller
“Evocative of Alice Munro, Amy Bloom, and Willa Cather, but fueled by Anna Solomon’s singular imagination . . . a masterful debut . . . embroidered with sage, beautiful writing on every page . . . marks the start of a long, fine, and important career.” —Jenna Blum, author of Those Who Save Us
“Minna is a terrifically complex heroine: a little snobby, a little selfish and wholly sympathetic.” —The New York Times
“Like...Jonathan Safran Foer and Dara Horn. [A] wondrously strange story of Jewish immigration.” —Miami Herald
“This mythic rendition of the American immigrant narrative...finds the wondrous in the ordinary and vividly depicts the complex collisions between the Old World and the New.” —More
Solomon's intensely scripted debut was inspired by the Am Olam movement of the late 19th century in which hundreds of Jews fleeing persecution were drawn to a utopian vision of communal agrarian life across the United States. Unfortunately, Solomon abandons the fertile promise of the novel's Tolstoy-worthy premise, and limits the story's scope to one eccentric family in self-imposed exile from an Am Olam community in South Dakota, and tells the tale from the narrow point of view of a disgruntled mail-order bride. Sixteen-year-old Minna travels from Odessa with dreams of marrying a young, ambitious husband and enjoying a life of freedom and leisure in a bustling American city. What she gets is Max, a 40-year-old Orthodox recluse in a sod hut in South Dakota and two teenage stepsons. Minna soon realizes that her husband is no farmer and to complicate an already desperate situation, Minna and her older stepson are attracted to each other. The prose is exquisite as are the descriptions of the landscape, especially of a harsh South Dakota winter, but Max is too vaguely rendered to offer readers insight into the world beyond his house of mud and his field of rocks, and Minna's passive-aggressive responses to disappointment make her a difficult protagonist to empathize with, let alone trust. Solomon does deliver plenty of atmosphere and crisis, if not a convincing story, and establishes herself as a writer to watch.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Little Bride
A very hard story to follow - lack of detail didn't keep me interested. This book took me 5 weeks to read because is dragged on endlessly on unimportant detail, missing all the truly important parts of the whole story, the journey to get to America, travel to the Dakota territories, marriage.... I would have liked to the author to delve into more intimate details, surroundings, feelings, ect. It could have been a best seller had it been written with heart. Too bad - I prepurchased this book, excited to read it...once read...bored.