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All I Love and Know: A Novel Paperback – April 21, 2015
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*Starred Review* This beautiful novel is old-fashioned in its approach, taking its sweet time to tell a tender love story between two flawed, good-hearted people, and yet it feels wholly fresh. Stylish graphic-designer Matthew Greene and cerebral magazine editor Daniel Rosen have made a quiet life for themselves in Northampton, Massachusetts. But that all changes when Daniel’s twin brother and his wife are killed in a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem. They leave behind two children, irrepressible six-year-old Gal and baby Noam. Daniel has been named the children’s guardian, much to the consternation of his parents and his brother’s in-laws, who are Holocaust survivors and Israeli citizens. As Daniel, numb with grief, deals with the funeral arrangements and the Israeli courts, where his guardianship is being contested, Matthew struggles with the responsibilities of instant parenthood and the fact that his lover and best friend seems entirely changed. In her second novel (after Crybaby Butch, 2004), Frank not only explores the complexities of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict but also presents the difficulties gay partners face in navigating the court system. Above all, though, this is a compassionate, utterly compelling story of how family members, torn apart by tragedy, must reach deep within themselves to meet their greatest challenge. --Joanne Wilkinson --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
“In this wonderfully rich, absorbing novel, Frank sheds light on gender and identity, the anguished politics of the Middle East, the limits of love and one family’s struggle to stay intact.” (People)
“Deeply moving . . . Frank shows profound empathy for her characters, making this book heartbreaking, yet jubilantly hopeful.” (Publishers Weekly)
“A thoughtful look at how grief isolates survivors and how families may, or may not, come together in crisis.” (Library Journal)
“I Loved it! Read it non-stop. These people catch you by the heart so powerfully you can hardly believe it is a novel. I’ve already had to loan it to a friend.” (Dorothy Allison, award-winning author of Bastard out of Carolina)
“A tender novel that deals with the emotional riptides left by an act of terrorism long after the headlines have faded. It is a brave, moving, and deeply compelling book, written with grace, about the ways even love and family devotion are challenged when the worst occurs.” (Scott Turow, #1 New York Times bestselling author)
“[A] timeless story… beautiful, expansive, and deeply humanistic… Frank is a perfect storyteller, creating vivid landscapes and characters and events…. We have little choice in how we, or those whom we love, die. But when it comes to life, we can choose. Judith Frank shows us how.” (Huffington Post)
“[This is] strong storytelling driven by emotionally complex characters: first-rate commercial fiction.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“This tender, intricate domestic drama both engages and informs what is arguably one of the critical issues of our time. It feels quite revolutionary, not just in the political sense, but in terms of the kind of stories we value.” (Alison Bechdel, New York Times bestselling author of Fun Home)
“This is a big American story, a tapping into the zeitgeist that few other novelists have really traveled --- taking the life of gay American couples beyond the struggle for marriage equality and giving a look at the usual challenges of any relationship.” (Bookreporter.com)
“A powerful novel about love, loss and the will to endure after inconceivable tragedy.” (BookPage)
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Matt Greene and Daniel Rosen live Northampton, Massachusetts. They've been a couple for four years and are very much in love. The year is 2003. Bush 2 is president. Working from his office in their home, Matt gets a phone call. Daniel's identical twin brother, Joel, and his wife Ilana, have been killed by a suicide bomber at a cafe in Jerusalem. They left behind her Holocaust survivor parents, and two small children, one just a baby.
Everything these two men love and know is overturned. Suddenly Matt is the goyish boyfriend dragged into a maelstrom of grief and confusion. Suddenly Daniel, who has always lived in the shadow of his charismatic, manly, beloved straight twin, is unmoored. Suddenly they realize that Ilana and Daniel wanted them to take the children away from Israel should something happen to them.
Nothing in this book reflects my own life, and yet (as often happens in books I love) everything resonated with every part of my life--my Jewish husband, our two children, the loss of two siblings when I was a teenager, my experience of Israel.
Judith Frank is a lesbian, and I point that out because she seems to have a key to the way gay men think and feel that I have never quite experienced. Maybe it's just that we're human. Whatever her magic, this is a wonderful book.
Don't think of it as a MM book, it's content is so serious about the problems between Palestinians and Israelis, to deal with sudden death of twins, how to deal to be the survival twin, and having to adopt the children left by your brother, have to fight family to have the right to have the children, help the children to deal with the tragedy in their lives, the devastation this kind of situation causes in a relationship, and various others subjects.
The only thing that left me wanting more us the ending. I know it doesn't matter in front of the options they made if he would be positive or not, but after having to deal with reading a so heavy book would be nice to have a shiny hope for the future than the ceremony.
Anyways, a book worth reading.
Tragedy either makes relationships stronger or puts them in danger of breaking apart. I won't tell you which happens here, but it is certainly an engrossing story.
It was a bit long but held my interest most of the time. At times I was infuriated, at times sad, at times filled with hope and happiness. The characters were very human and believable. Overall I really liked this book.