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The Laws of Gravity [Kindle Edition]

Liz Rosenberg
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (241 customer reviews)

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Book Description

An exquisite tour de force, The Laws of Gravity is a testament to what it means to be a family, what it takes to save a life, and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.

Two families, bound by blood. One decision holds the key to survival.

Nicole, red-haired and beautiful, discovers that her life is in danger. She turns to her cousin and childhood best friend Ari for the cord blood he's been banking for his own children. His decision brings them before the scales of justice. Solomon Richter, a state Supreme Court judge on the brink of mandatory retirement, finds himself embroiled in a legal battle unlike any other. A case that calls into question the very things we live for: family, loyalty, friendship and love.

It's Nicole's last chance, Ari's last stand, and the judge's last case.

A novel of heartbreaking honesty, humor and depth; an unforgettable story of justice and love: The Laws of Gravity heralds award-winning Liz Rosenberg as a new storytelling sensation.

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Editorial Reviews


"Rosenberg has written a thoughtful story about morality, personal responsibility, the law and, above all, the complicated, sometimes incomprehensible, ties of family. This emotionally compelling novel...has 'book group' stamped all over it." —The Boston Globe

"Drop whatever book you're reading and pick up a copy of Liz Rosenberg's stunning look at three Long Island families … Rosenberg is a marvelous storyteller, with deep understanding of families honed by her many books." —The Huntington News

"The Laws of Gravity is a heart wrenching and honest exploration of family love and betrayal. A real page turner right up to its beautiful last page." —Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread and The Knitting Club

The Laws of Gravity is an unflinching portrayal of that place where fear and family collide. Part medical drama and part family saga, it reminds a reader of how easily the ties that bind can fray. Heartbreaking." —Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls

"Clear-eyed and compassionate, The Laws of Gravity wrangles with the complexity of choice…What do we owe one another? How can we forgive? How do we live with ourselves? Liz Rosenberg's details are riveting; they pierce. Her ideas about friendship triumph." —National Book Award finalist Beth Kephart, author of Small Damages and Handling the Truth

"A natural source for reflections ... I predict this thoughtful and intriguing novel will qualify as a topic for discussion among book groups." —San Diego Jewish Book World,

"[R]ealistic in its human detail, in the contrasting roles of women and men, the lives of children, the play of religion and spirituality." —

"Reading Liz Rosenberg's fine new adult novel is like digging for hidden treasure—and finding it!" —Alan Cheuse, NPR commentator, editor and author of To Catch the Lightning

"The gravitational forces in this simple but subtle story lift on waves of buoyant laughter, sink in troughs of despair, and ascend as if weightless into sublime wisdom." —Provincetown Arts Magazine

About the Author

Liz Rosenberg was born in Glen Cove, New York. She has written more than thirty books for adults and young readers, including novels, poetry, and nonfiction. For the past fifteen years she has been a book review columnist at The Boston Globe. Liz teaches at the State University of New York at Binghamton where she won the Chancellor’s Award for excellence in teaching. Her first husband was the late novelist John Gardner, author of Grendel. She lives in Binghamton, N.Y., with her husband, David, her daughter, Lily, and two shih tzus. Her son, Eli, lives in New York City as an actor and magician.

Product Details

  • File Size: 866 KB
  • Print Length: 297 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (May 7, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A7GK4TE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,775 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The law cannot compel altruism. May 1, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This novel centers on a legal question: can someone be forced to give cord blood (or other body parts) to a relative? And the moral dilemma: how could they refuse to help a family member in desperate need? Nicole and Ari are cousins and have been close throughout their lives. Now Nicole is sick and needs the last chance of cure that may be found in Ari's son Julian's cord blood. At first he agrees to let her use the banked blood, but then Julian has a health scare that makes Ari retract his promise. Does Nicole have the RIGHT to that blood? How can Ari withhold it from her when it holds the possibility of her health and life vs pain and death. He stands alone against a legal team and the state Supreme Court judge who is hearing his last case before retirement.

Halfway through the book I was getting so irritated by the characters, especially Nicole, that I almost stopped reading it. Melodramatic and manipulative, the author tries to get the reader to a high moral ground and to root for Nicole's case against her cousin. I really did not care for ANY of the stereotypical characters in the novel, nor was their portrayal believable. Too much angsting. Aside from the annoying reminder of how beautiful and good Nicole was (as opposed to her mean, hulking, selfish cousin), I really didn't ever become fully engaged with the drama playing out. The book became more of a morality lecture with religious sermons about conscience, purpose, duty, and being a "brother's keeper" from the Jewish point of view.

If you like Jodi Picoult, Diane Chamberlain, and some of the other female authors who write about family drama, then you would enjoy this novel.

PS - I chose this book because I am currently having a bone marrow drive at the school where I work.
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Liz Rosenberg was a professor of mine when I attended Binghamton University in the 80's and I loved her classes. As my children grew up I read them all of her children's books while fondly remembering her "Writing for Children" creative writing class. I read about the publication of this novel in an alumni magazine and pre-ordered it right away. Once again my former professor amazed me. I became so engrossed in this novel that I found myself sneaking chapters through out the day like a thief! The story was so unique and contemporary, a family arguing in court over 'cord-blood' that could possibly save a members life. A heartbreaking novel that really made me want to do some legal research of my own just to follow up on the possibilities. This would make an excellent book for a book club. It is full of debatable plot points, religious viewpoints, life lessons, love lessons, foreshadowing and literary techniques galore. It is so rich and beautiful that I think I will have to read it again right away just to make sure I didn't miss anything! My kindle is highlighted and annotated but there is always more beauty to find in a novel that is this gorgeously written. Wow-this story and these characters will stay in my mind for a long time, and they are welcome to linger.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read! May 24, 2013
The Laws of Gravity is an utterly engrossing read. Its exploration of the fragile nature of family loyalty and its significance in our lives is a subject that touches us all. The story centers around Nicole and her extended family, and that is riveting enough. But by introducing the judge as a central character, Rosenberg has added unexpected richness to the narrative. I enjoyed the window into Nicole's Long Island Jewish family--the aunt with so many Christmas decorations in her living room that her guests thought they had come to the wrong house. I read the last few pages of The Laws of Gravity in bed on Mother's Day morning. Only later did I realize how appropriate that was.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read if you are a lawyer June 1, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Did she not have an editor to review the legal details? Just about everything is wrong in the way she describes how a case is handled in NY State courts. The judge's opinion is practically unreadable if you've ever studied real judges' opinions. She proves the old adage, "write about things you know" -- and if you stray from that, find a really good editor who knows what you don't know. Everything that had to do with the court case (which was pretty central to the book) was pure frustration to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved the characters and how the story took me into my own story of what is the right thing to do and how complex that is. I didn't always like what it made me feel but i loved that it did, as i navigated my own choices that were right for me at the time but exacted a terrible cost for others; my surety that it was the right choice, my terrible grief that it was not, and i was simply an awful schmuck. The duality of mind in an endless argument. No room for truly feeling the holy moment of birth and death contained in life, and falling at its feet.

Funny, well written, heartbreaking, believable, each character a piece of myself. And it underscores that the only thing that is true is what actually happens, not what i or anyone imagines should have. That endless argument with reality that prevents us from feeling everything and welcoming it in for tea. Then there may be grief, love and joy even, but no suffering. No resistance to what is. Just a full on experience of it. And its sometimes painful beauty.

Go somewhere else for a story review, I'm sure there are plenty. I share with you more how this book underscores the believes I have about what is happening (aka reality), and THAT is were true suffering lies. In my thinking it should have been some other way. The endless argument with reality that can tear us apart... Or blow our hearts open and set us free when we see it simply isn't true.

This book has the power to show me unconditional love... Without a single change in plot. It went as it did. Now end my argument Ari should have done something different, and sit in the fire of my own true heart breaking open. and just feel the beauty of the great mystery of life.

Thank you for this masterpiece, love.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What a story!
This book let you in on the true drama that can arise between family members when transplanting is a solution for saving lives. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Kate
2.0 out of 5 stars ok
This is the type of book that you expect to see as sequel from. The book was well written and engaging, but has the type ending that leaves so much open that you wish you hadn't... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Kikikins
4.0 out of 5 stars Grave, interesting, thought-provoking
Full of gravity, heavy, but also full of humor and pathos. A good read for a long winter night. Recommended.
Published 25 days ago by Grace Carswell
2.0 out of 5 stars Gravity check
why does almost every book I purchase contain typos? the book was good but parts of it seemed to drag on. the ending was like an afterthought to the story. I felt letdown.
Published 27 days ago by Loves to Read
3.0 out of 5 stars Review
I finished the book very confused. I cannot believe he would not give her the cord blood and that so much time was wasted with the legalities. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Babara Farmer
2.0 out of 5 stars meaningful, late. a very choppy read
I wanted to like this story, given the elements of conflict and love.
I wanted it to be a book club read.
Alas, it is neither. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Book Club Fan
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
This was very thought provoking. The love of family members then the demise of a long relationship. That was heartbreaking.
Published 1 month ago by Beverly P
5.0 out of 5 stars Great message
Loved the way Liz wrote this heart warming and family oriented story. It made me cry, but it was a 'cry for happy' more than any other reason. Great author, great read!
Published 1 month ago by Happy shopper
4.0 out of 5 stars Good and not as you would expect
a lot of books like this are predictable but this is a little different. I don't like books that set out to make you cry and I don't feel like this one did.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
When I first started the book, I thought I had made a mistake in buying it. I didn't want to read about someone struggling with cancer. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Tsp
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More About the Author

Liz Rosenberg is the author of 4 novels, 5 books of poems and more than 20 award winning books for children. She has edited five prize winning poetry anthologies (including THE INVISIBLE LADDER and LIGHT GATHERING POEMS) and her picture book, THE CAROUSEL was featured on PBS' Reading Rainbow. Her newest picture book, TYRANNOSAURUS DAD (illustrated by brilliant newcomer Matthew Myers) is a Children's Book of the Month Club bestseller and has garnered praise from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, School Library Journal and elsewhere, and was an Amazon top 10 children's book.

Her first novel for adults, HOME REPAIR was a Target Breakout book, a BookBub pick, and voted top ten for Book Clubs and Most Likely to be Next Oprah Pick on Goodreads. Her second, THE LAWS OF GRAVITY, was published by Amazon Publishing in spring of 2013 as part of a two-book deal. It has been a top ten best-seller in the United States, Canada and the UK. Featured on Booktalk, NPR and BlogTalk Radio, it is also a Jewish Book Network selection for 2013, and was named a Reader's Choice and Editor's Choice on Bookbrowse. Woman's World called it "perfect for book clubs," and The Boston Globe hailed it as "a thoughtful story about morality, personal responsibility, the law, and above all, the complicated, sometimes incomprehensible ties of family."

Liz Rosenberg was born and raised on Long Island. She met her husband, David, when they were 7 and 8 years old respectively, at summer camp. They became friends in high school, each married other people, and ten years after they had reconnected in high school, finally got married. They have been married 3 times to each other because they are both terrible at keeping track of paperwork. They have an actor & magician son, Eli, and a 10 year old daughter, Lily.

Liz Rosenberg's first husband was the late great American novelist John Gardner, author of Grendel, Nickel Mountain, How to Become a Novelist and more than 25 other works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and scholarship. Together they taught at the State University of Binghamton until his untimely death in l982 in a motorcycle accident. She continues as a full professor at Binghamton University's English Department and has guest taught all over the world, from Russia to Austria to Singapore, and throughout the United States. Ms. Rosenberg spends her time reading and writing. Her hobbies are reading and writing and her passions are-- right, reading and writing.

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