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Away: A Novel Paperback – June 24, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
1) You're ok reading books that make a serious effort to historically locate human sexuality.
2) You recognize sex and desire are integral parts of our humanity and take many forms. This means you are comfortable reading scenes involving gay sex, sex as currency, and sex as love.
3) You're ok reading books that are not obviously character or plot driven. The best comparisons I can think of here are Jeanette Winterson or Tony Morrison. Bloom's language is not difficult but I want to warn you that the your particular reading psychology (taste) may work against you here. It is not surprising to me that so many readers had a difficult time trying to identify with Lillian. This book isn't about Lillian; Lillian is a vessel for a more general commentary the author is trying to make. I thought this was really obvious. Many readers are used to a more traditional book where the author does overtime to make the inner world of the protagonist alive so that the reader more easily identifies with the protagonist. Bloom doesn't really do anything like that. Lillian is what you make of her. Any conclusions or interpretations you take from her story are your entirely your own. Bloom makes no effort to push you any direction with regards to Lillian. Many readers find this disconcerting b/c they keep trying to force their expectations of how the book is supposed to read onto the text and become frustrated/disappointed that Lillian remains mysterious or that the book goes somewhere else. This can be observed in many other reviews for the book here.
4) You are ok with discontinuity in setting. Each location in the book is entirely new, independent of the previous ones, and contains its own set of characters.Read more ›
1. The book transported me into the life and brain of a 22 year old Russian girl who had to flee Russia to America in the 1920s. She has lived through the slaughter of her family and arrives in NYC without anything but the dress she's wearing. The author does a great job of putting you into the girl's shoes and you feel numb, desperate, your survival instincts kick in and you become ready to do what it takes to survive. Some of these things aren't what you learned to do in church, and yet they must be done.
2. The book is full of fringe characters who live and barely survive in the time. She works as a seamstress, lives with cousins, sleeps on a couch, the floor, out in the wilderness, on a cot in jail, etc., over half the book. She meets prostitutes, men running away from the law, robbers, becomes friends with a gay man, spends time in a woman's correctional facility, etc. Overall, I felt that all of these characters seemed real for the time and you really are experiencing the world of the 1920s both in NYC and Alaska.
3. There were very frank and straight forward sexual experiences along the way. The feeling that it creates is that sex was almost less complicated and straight forward then than it is now. But we're a young, inexperienced girl from Russia who is desperate, has been married and likes men. So she is very submissive and doesn't worry too much about it when approached by men she likes. I've read that these scenes were a negative by some of the other reviewers. I would say that if you can handle an R rated movie, you can handle this and that for me, it added a human dimension that made you love and understand the main character, Lillian, very well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This story moved me in ways I didn't think a man of a certain age could be moved any more . So beautiful and touching and vast am writing through tears of joy and sheer... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Ken Street
Some of the sex was a necessary part of the story but much of it was ridiculous The story has many incredible scenarios not at al realistic even in a work of fiction Another... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Richard C Florey
Though the book had the traditional "happy ending," it felt like it was thrown on as a way to end the novel. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Pat Reisinger
One star., only because it wouldn't let me post a comment with no stars....I hated the book!Published 3 months ago by Diane Comandella
This is a very good book with characters that are well told, vivid backdrops, interesting depictions of that time period, but so very sad. Read morePublished 5 months ago by mischasmuse
I found the entire novel unsavory with unnecessary descriptions of degradation that I know people suffered during the progroms and the Jewish immigration to the United States. Read morePublished 6 months ago by VirginiaS