A "brilliant, astonishing modern love story"* and an acclaimed literary debut...
A young Cuban woman passes her nights dancing in a seedy Florida strip club; a Russian orphan loses everything, then builds a new and prosperous life for himself in New York; a woman struggles to maintain her dignity and hope after a life-changing accident—these are the three members of the troika whose story is told in this dazzling literary debut.
Their lives unexpectedly intertwined, Perla, Julian and Sophie discover a world—a way of life—that forces them to challenge their definitions of commitment, love and trust, a world that heals old wounds and inspires them to transform tragedy into beauty.
“What a great gallop through the landscape of the human heart, what a brilliant, astonishing modern love story, what a beautiful pair of heroines, what an amazing journey from the plantains of Little Havana and a Fort Lauderdale strip club to Fifth Avenue and East Hampton, what a ride to a complex and satisfying redemption, what a glorious testimony to the way damage can become a lovely destiny, what a book!”—*Susan Cheever
Pelzman's debut novel is both intriguing and frustrating. At its core is an odd love triangle between Julian, a Russian-born self-made businessman; Sophie, his wheelchair-bound wife; and Perla, the Cuban-American stripper to whom Julian is attracted. The shifting relationships between these characters, and Julian's flashbacks to his journey from a Siberian orphanage to New York City, are fascinating. But there's so much backstory that the plot doesn't start moving forward until the book's final third. Sophie doesn't appear before then, and readers may find it difficult to empathize with Sophie, despite her infirmity, when her pretense to selflessness is revealed to be a form of selfishness. Julian and Perla allow themselves to be manipulated by Sophie, who has a deep-seated need for control. Because the writing is so beautiful and powerful and the premise so unusual and interesting, the storytelling choices that don't work show up even more starkly. Pelzman's talent and vision are formidable; hopefully, future books will have structures that support the author's vision and talent.