Bloom, Amy. Away.
I'm afraid I will be a lone voice of dissent on this novel. At first, I thought I would like it very much, but gradually, I realized that Lillian didn't come off the page for me.
This is the story of Lillian Leyb, a young immigrant who has escaped from Russia after a pogrom in which her parents and husband are brutally murdered. Lillian slipped her young daughter out of the window and told her to hide, but when Lillian looks for her, Sophie seems to have vanished.
The novel begins in New York where Lillian seeks work and becomes involved with a father and son who have a powerful place in the Yiddish theater. When her cousin comes to America and tells her that her daughter is alive, Lillian decides she must get to Siberia where she only half believes Sophie may be.
It is a kind of picaresque novel that follows Lillian from Russia to New York, across the continent to Seattle, and up into Alaska, heading to the Bering Strait which would take Lillian to Siberia.
She meets some curious characters and most of these meetings involve sexual encounters. Bloom carries the stories of most of these characters to a conclusion which is an interesting concept. She tells what happens to them after Lillian leaves. I hesitate to call these characters incidental, because truthfully, they came "alive" in a deeper sense than Lillian.
I never became terribly attached to Lillian, who deliberately or not, maintains her distance. My copy had rather large print and was short, so it made for a quick read.
Fiction. Historical fiction. 2007. 235 pages.