“Blum avoids the sap of happy endings and easy resolutions in this perfect encapsulation of the changing times and turbulence of mid- and late-20th-century America.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“This exquisitely crafted and compassionate novel offers a lesson in honesty, regardless of how difficult the truth may be. It will offer plenty of discussion for book groups.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“In…this gripping novel, Blum…displays her keen eye for character…Each unforgettable character in this deeply moving novel brings new meaning to the familiar phrase “never forget.” Elie Wiesel’s A Mad Desire to Dance (2009) and Michael Chabon’s Moonglow (2016) also share.. a sense of hope in the face of tragic loss.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Jenna Blum shines a powerful light on how the past swings back and how we must face it. The Lost Family is an extraordinary read, the kind of book that makes you sob and smile, the kind that gives you hope…. It is compassionate, masterful and disturbingly contemporary.”
(Tatiana de Rosnay, bestselling author of Sarah’s Key)
“Blum plumbs the depths of loss and love in this exquisite page-turner.” (People)
“(Blum) takes on the difficult task of rendering generational trauma visible, and does it with such humor and empathy, you can’t help but be swept along for the ride.” (Village Voice)
“I was spellbound from the start of The Lost Family. The writing is so smart and empathetic.... This is a dazzling novel of great compassion, honestly reckoning with the time-and-place-spanning ripple effect of great pain as well as love.” (Laura Moriarty, New York Times best-selling author of The Chaperone)
“Deftly executed, deeply moving, and full of heart, Jenna Blum’s The Lost Family is an evocative look at the legacy of war and how it impacts one memorable family.” (Jami Attenberg, bestselling author of The Middlesteins)
From the Back Cover
In 1960s Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its brisket Wellington and impeccable service, and to admire its dashing owner and head chef, Peter Rashkin. With his movie-star good looks and tragic past, Peter, a survivor of Auschwitz, is the most eligible bachelor in town. But he does not care for the parade of women who come to the restaurant hoping to catch his eye. He has resigned himself to a solitary life. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does the terrible guilt of having survived the horrors of a Nazi death camp while his wife, Masha—the restaurant’s namesake—and two young daughters perished.
Then exquisitely beautiful June Bouquet, an up-and-coming young model, appears at the restaurant, piercing Peter’s guard. Though she is twenty years his junior, the two begin a passionate, whirlwind courtship. When June unexpectedly becomes pregnant, Peter proposes, believing that beginning a new family with the woman he loves will allow him to let go of the atrocities of the past, even though he cannot forget all that he has lost. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, his new wife, June, and their daughter, Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.
The tale of a husband devastated by a grief he cannot name, a frustrated wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s. It is a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II.