Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Heir to the Glimmering World: A Novel Hardcover – September 1, 2004
|New from||Used from|
This month's Book With Buzz: "The Silent Corner" by Dean Koontz
A dazzling new series, a pure adrenaline rush, debuts with Jane Hawk, a remarkable heroine certain to become an icon of suspense. See more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Ozick's previous novel, The Puttermesser Papers, revolved around one quirky hero; this time around, Ozick incubates several. Characters, not plot, drive this Depression-era tale, and Ozick eviscerates each one through her narrator, Rose Meadows, a resolute 18-year-old orphan. Virtually abandoned, Rose wanders into a job with the Mitwisser family, German refugees in New York City. Filling gaping holes in their household, she becomes a research assistant to the father, a professor stubbornly engaged in German and Hebrew arcana; a nurse to his oft-deranged, sequestered wife; and nanny to their five children. As she penetrates the fog surrounding their history, Rose limns their roiling inner lives with exasperated perception. Mrs. Mitwisser especially chafes against the family's precarious, degrading status as "parasites," erratically supported by the unbalanced millionaire son and heir of an author of popular children's books who is fascinated by Mr. Mitwisser's research. With her trademark lyrical prose, gentle humor and vivid imagery, Ozick paints a textured portrait of outsiders rendered powerless, retreating into tightly coiled existences of scholarly rapture, guarded brazenness and even calculated lunacy—all as a means of refuting the bleakness of a harsh, chaotic world. Erudite exposition is packed into the book, so that character study and discourse occasionally grind the plot to a halt. Edifying and evocative, if often daunting, this is a concentrated slice of eccentric life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From The New Yorker
In 1933, the Mitwissers, a family of German Jews, arrive in America after a narrow and eccentric escape from Berlin. (Forced to hide for a week before they could flee, they circled the city in a rented limousine, wearing their finest clothes and assuming a regal air at hotels where they slipped in to use the bathroom.) After landing somewhat haphazardly in New York, they place an ad for help in a local paper. The only applicant for the job is an eighteen-year-old orphan, Rose Meadows, who narrates the story, and who observes the Mitwissers with the dry neutrality of an invisible servant. Her duties are vaguely defined—part nanny, part secretary—and her salary comes intermittently, the family's sole source of income being the whimsy of a troubled benefactor. Ozick portrays this ramshackle household to dazzling effect, as it adjusts to its many states of exile—from a sense of security, from cherished ideas, and from the consolations of each other.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Even though the fathers of these families are wildly different, they are all, in their own ways absent. Professor Mitwisser is lost in his scholarly pursuit of an ancient and obscure Jewish sect. Rose’s father is a self-absorbed drunk, thief and gambler, as down on his luck as the professor, while James A’Bair, Sr. relates to his young son only as a commercial product. They are funhouse mirror distortions of what a father should be.
The mothers are missing, too. Elsa Mitwisser, a well-known scientist before she was driven out of Germany, is mentally unstable, her mind wrenched out of focus by the traumas of the flight from Germany. Rose’s mother died when she was a child. James A’Bair’s mother colludes in the father’s project to turn their child into cash.
And the children are orphans. Rose and James, although young have no living parents, while the five Mitwisser children run wild, with only the inconstant supervision of the oldest sister. Others, including Rose, her cousin Bertram, and James, take on the maternal role in interesting ways.
But it would be misleading to dwell too much on these parallels, since this is really a novel about the aloneness of human beings and their chasing after glimmers---books, money, security, love---to bring happiness to their lives. The book turns on the paradoxes of the ones who draw the glimmers into something more substantial and the ones who do not. Might it be better not to chase after glimmers at all?
I can't say Heir is a page-turner, but it's compelling enough, and Ozick's writing is flawless. While I doubt the book is strictly autobiographical, I'd bet my typing fingers Ozick based it on her own early experiences as a secretary, having held quite a few equally oddball positions myself.
The best thing about this novel, though, is the ending: it's been many years since I've read a book that so completely satisfied me in the end. Some readers will no doubt think it a bit too tidy, but I'm of the camp that eschews inconclusive denouements. It doesn't take a prophet to know that every story like life goes on--but I appreciate a book and an author that can deliver the goods in the final pages. Well done, Ms. Ozick!
Would have enjoyed this book with fewer pages and less back and forth between characters.