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The Two-Family House: A Novel Hardcover – March 8, 2016
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From Publishers Weekly
Loigman's debut novel is an engrossing family saga set in post-war Brooklyn. It focuses on two families that are inextricably linked by blood, marriage, and a long-held secret. Brothers Abe and Mort took over their family box business when their father died, even though Mort had his heart set on studying mathematics. The brothers share a two-family house with their children and wives. As the story opens in 1947, wives Rose and Helen are themselves as close as sisters, happily bringing up their children together. Rose and Mort have three young daughters, and Helen and Abe, on the top floor, are bringing up four sons. Then, the two women get pregnant at the same time, deliver their babies together during a horrible blizzard, and make an instant decision to swap the babies that will change all of their lives forever. The story follows the brothers, their wives, and the children through decades. Loigman's use of shifting perspectives allows readers to witness first-hand the growing consequences of long-festering secrets and the insidious lies that cover them up. This historical family drama has a dark underbelly, but Loigman's decision to let the reader in on the secret allows the setting and mood of the novel take over as the characters move haltingly toward redemption and peace. Agent: Marly Rusoff, Marly Rusoff & Associates, Inc\n. (Mar.)
“It’s hard to believe The Two-Family House is Lynda Cohen Loigman’s debut novel. A richly textured, complex, yet entirely believable story, it draws us inexorably into the lives of two brothers and their families in 1950s Brooklyn, New York.... As compelling as the story line are the characters that Loigman has drawn here. None is wholly likable nor entirely worthy of scorn. All are achingly human, tragically flawed and immediately recognizable. We watch them change and grow as the novel spans more than 20 years....engrossing from beginning to end.” ―The Associated Press
(As seen on ABCNews.com, San Diego Union Tribune, Daily Mail, The Daily Journal)
“This absolutely riveting book reads like a suspense novel.... The underlying complexities of friendship, the intricacies of marriage and the disintegration of family are explored in this gem of a family saga. The characters are fully drawn, and the writing is superb. This is a book that is sure to become a popular choice for book clubs.” ―Historical Novel Society
“THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE takes you on a tour of dysfunction and deep and abiding love in a way that reflects the entanglements that come with a close-living family....its examination of generations of a family with their own high expectations to live up to resonates on several different levels....this very literary tale actually gives readers so much more than it may seem at first.” ―Book Reporter
“Loigman nails the way family members, especially parents and children, inadvertently pierce one another with careless comments or subtle looks. As the story unfolds, we are reminded of how a split-second decision can reverberate for decades, even for generations....the real strength of Loigman’s debut effort is her characters, to whom you find your loyalty shifting as the story unfolds.” ―Jerusalem Post
“Instead of detracting from the book, my uncovering of the 'secret' enhanced my enjoyment of this novel―one of the best I’ve read in a long time....Who, how and why is the subject of this well-written, insightful study of human behavior...that promises good things to come.” ―Washington Jewish Week
“The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman is an outsider’s look into a world filled with tension and mistrust―and most of all, secrets. [It] will make you question and make you angry―but mainly, it will make you rethink your own family history, until you are left wondering―how much do you know about your own past? And how sure are you that, without warning, your world might not be blown apart?” ―Jewish Book Council
“In her first novel, Loigman uses complex characters to deconstruct the anatomy of family relationships and expose deep-rooted emotions, delivering a moving story of love, loss, and sacrifice.” ―Booklist Reviews
“Peeling back the layers that surround an irreversible, life-altering secret, this novel weaves a complex and heartbreaking story about lies and love, forgiveness and family. Written from alternating perspectives of the different family members over more than two decades, the deeply developed voices will bring tears and awe, settling snugly into the heart and mind. It’s a reminder that love is always forgiving.” ―RT Reviews
"In her first novel, Loigman uses complex characters to deconstruct the anatomy of family relationships and expose deep-rooted emotions, delivering a moving story of love, loss, and sacrifice." ―Booklist Reviews
“Peeling back the layers that surround an irreversible, life-altering secret, this novel weaves a complex and heartbreaking story about lies and love, forgiveness and family. Written from alternating perspectives of the different family members over more than two decades, the deeply developed voices will bring tears and awe, settling snugly into the heart and mind. It’s a reminder that love is always forgiving." ―RT Book Reviews Top Pick, 4 ½ stars
"Where Loigman excels is in capturing the time period―1950s Brooklyn. She draws gender roles accurately, even capturing the frustration of Mort and Rose’s eldest daughter, Judith, whose gender constrains her life choices. Loigman nails the way family members, especially parents and children, inadvertently pierce one another with careless comments or subtle looks. As the story unfolds, we are reminded of how a split-second decision can reverberate for decades, even for generations....the real strength of Loigman’s debut effort is her characters, to whom you find your loyalty shifting as the story unfolds." ―The Jerusalem Post
"In The Two-Family House, young sisters-in-law are thrown together in a single home, where their children live as near siblings in what on the surface seems an ideal life. Lynda Cohen Loigman plumbs the hidden world beneath the happy faces turned to the world with insight, honesty, and compassion, and in doing so explores universal truths about family, and love, and loss. I will certainly be giving a copy of this utterly charming novel to my own dearest sister-in-law." ―Meg Waite Clayton author of The Wednesday Sisters
"In a single, intensely charged moment, two women come to a private agreement meant to assure each other's happiness. But as Loigman deftly reveals, life is not so simple, especially when it involves two families, tightly intertwined." ―Christina Schwarz, national bestselling author of Drowning Ruth (an Oprah’s Book Club Pick)
"[Full of] great skill and compassion...a novel you won't be able to put down." ―Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and Pretending To Dance
"Two families, both living in one house, drive an exquisitely written novel of love, alliances, the messiness of life and long buried secrets. Loigman’s debut is just shatteringly wonderful and I can’t wait to see what she does next." ―Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow and Pictures of You
"A spellbinding family saga...[and a] rare, old-fashioned read you never want to end!" ―Cassandra King, national bestselling author of The Sunday Wife
“…the author’s vivid characters . . . drive the story with suspense and . . . emotional tension to make it a page turner.” ―Authorlink.com
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Top Customer Reviews
Loigman is masterful in her character development, and those who initially appear unlikable truly develop into people for whom I have great affection and sympathy. I found my own allegiances shifting as I read, and I was surprised that who I was cheering for changed as I went.
The chapters are told from various perspectives, the husbands and wives as well as a couple of the children, and with each new voice, a little more about the family is revealed. Each voice is distinct and well defined and I loved how everyone viewed the family so differently, creating a robust picture.
A beautiful read that's both sad and up lifting. Definitely recommend.
Thoughts like, how often does someone look the other way when being treated horrendously so often they begin to see the way they are treated as a normal life?
How often do we expect others to think and act as we do thereby unable to understand someone else's anger and hatred?
How far would we go not "tip the proverbial cart" in our family or to give a family member their dream? Worse, how often do we choose an action unable to see the consequences it may have on our very own being?
These are just a few of the questions this book will make you ponder.
Lest I have made this book sound dark and ominous, let me be clear, it is anything but dark. It is filled with joy and love. Hopeful and joyous characters and loving relationships among family members that the author writes so eloquently. You will absolutely love some of these characters and be sad to say goodbye to them when you finish the book.
Two brothers, running a business together, one out-going and openly loving, the other seeing even the most modicum of pleasantries as a waste of time, living in a duplex style home with their wives and children. Everyone's life so intertwined with each other, it is almost as though it is one big family at times. None more than the two wives that stay at home ( it is the 1950's) and do the cooking, cleaning and raising of children.
Two pregnancies and deliveries, change everything and what should have been a time of joy and a continuation of joyous extended family becomes anything but...
The author has such a gift of writing and the characters will draw you in before you even know it...
this is a definite MUST read!