Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Just Finished Reading: Away by Amy Bloom

I just finished reading this 235 page novel – Away by Amy Bloom. It is unlike anything I’ve read lately. It’s short, but there’s a lot packed in there. I need to re-read it because there’s still so much there that I couldn’t digest on a first reading. This is true of many books, but it feels particularly true in this case because the author leaves a lot unsaid. I feared this style would leave me feeling empty at the end of the novel, but I was actually quite fulfilled by the ending.

The story of Lilian, a Russian immigrant in the USA, is narrated in the third person omniscient point of view that the author calls “God’s Eye.” In the interview at the back of the book she says, “The Eye can see into the past, into the future, and make connections that would not be available to the characters.” “The Eye” is probably my favorite part of this novel. Lilian travels pretty much the whole way around the world (from Russia to NYC to Siberia) in search of her daughter, Sophie. She meets many interesting characters along the way, some of whom are only in the book for a half dozen pages or less, but they are all vivid and real. What I like about “The Eye” is that it tells us what happens to these secondary characters after their brief connection with Lilian.

I just finished reading this last night, so now I need to pick a new book to read!

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