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June 27, 2013 - Image 51

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-06-27

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ters, The Tin Horse is a profound read
about how we are shaped by those we
We all find ourselves defined by cer-
tain stereotypes, something that espe-
cially rings true for the three Hellinger
siblings in Lucinda Rosenfeld's novel,
The Pretty One: A Novel About
Sisters (Little, Brown and Company).
Olympia, "the pretty one," Imperia,
"the perfect one and Augusta, "the
political one are fiercely competi-
tive and growing up cranky, trying to
rid themselves of the preconceptions
constantly imposed upon them. When
their parents, who are a constant
handful to deal with, suddenly need
help, the girls fall apart. Entangled in
one another's business and falling into
chaos and cattiness, the situation goes
from bad to worse; but as the novel
continues, it grows hard not to root for
Susan Nussbaum's debut novel,
Good Kings Bad Kings (Algonquin),
tells the story of life behind the walls
of an institution for juveniles with dis-
abilities. Set in Chicago's South Side,
this portrait of secluded life shows the
creation of friendships, trust and love
affairs leading to the residents finding
the courage to stand up for what they
believe in. This comedic novel, in its
originality and uniqueness, challenges
the way we view disabilities and those
who have them.
The sequel to a beloved book, and
an even more beloved movie, Revenge
Wears Prada (Simon & Schuster) by
Lauren Weisberger follows the lives of
its main characters 10 years after the
events of The Devil Wears Prada. Andy
Sachs, since escaping "The Devil; aka
Miranda Priestly, at Runway maga-
zine, has teamed up with Emily, her
former rival, to form The Plunge, an
upscale bridal magazine. The two
become extremely powerful as the
magazine rockets to fame, and life for
Andy is good as she meets the love of
her life and prepares for her own wed-
ding. However, she discovers a secret
letter the morning of her nuptials that
makes everything uncertain and leads
her back into Miranda's clutches.
The first in a new literary crime
series featuring Israeli detective
Avraham Avraham, The Missing File
(Harper) by D.A. Mishani is about a
kidnapping case. Sixteen-year-old Ofer
leaves his home in the suburbs of Tel
Aviv for school one morning and dis-
appears without a trace. What makes
this story extremely intriguing is that
it is told from two perspectives: that
of the detective, Avraham, and that of
the main suspect, Ofer's neighbor and
tutor, Ze'ev Avni. As Avraham delves
deeper into the case and the strange
story Avni tells the police becomes

more curious, the detective finds him-
self in over his head.
Angelica Silverstein has always been
the family favorite. Smart and beauti-
ful, she is the source of much envy and
resentment from fellow family mem-
bers. In Yona Zeldis McDonough's
novel, A Wedding in Great Neck (New
American Library), Angelica's wedding
to her Israeli fiance is approaching,
and as her family unravels around
her, her big day, and the work she
has put into it, threatens to fall apart.
Angelica's family is dealing with mul-
tiple issues, and when one person's
impulsive action puts the entire wed-
ding at risk, tensions boil over. A study
of family relationships and love, A
Wedding in Great Neck is a funny novel
about the human desire for a happily-
Stalin's Barber (Taylor Trade) by
Paul M. Levitt is a historical novel
about a man named Avraham Bahar,
who, living in depressed Albania,
leaves to find a better life in, of all
places, Stalinist Russia. Gaining favor
with the Communist Party, he comes
to be Stalin's barber; living in a gov-
ernment house with other Soviet
dignitaries, he is now called Razan.
Beyond cutting Stalin's hair, Razan
also is barber to the Stalin look-a-likes
who are circulated to thwart assas-
sination attempts; but when one of the
attempts comes from Razan himself,
the game drastically changes.
A story of family and tragedy, In the
Land of the Living (Reagan Arthur
Books) by Austin Ratner focuses on
two generations of the Auberon fam-
ily: Isidore Auberon, a kid who coped
with the early death of his mother and
abusive relationship with his father
to eventually work his way through
Harvard and then medical school to
become a near-heroic doctor; and Leo,
Isidore's son, who is struggling to deal
with a tragedy that mars his early life
and the mythical legend of the father
he's left to try and live up to. When
Leo's younger brother, Mack, invites
him on a road trip from Los Angeles
to Cleveland, the boys discover them-
selves and reconcile the past with
what's to come.
The Wanting (Schocken) by
Michael Lavigne opens with a bang:
a bus bombing. In Israel, a Palestinian
man, Amir, sets off a bomb near the
office of acclaimed Russian-born
architect Roman Guttman, injuring
Roman and killing himself. Roman's
life is set on a different course, and he
stumbles through the desert in a sort
of fever dream, unknowingly followed
by Amir, who is damned to spend the
rest of eternity looking at the con-
sequences of his action. With three
narratives — Roman's, Amir's and that

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