Bloom, Amy. Away. Random House, 2007.
Reason read: the Tunguska explosion happened on June 30th, 1908. Read in remembrance of that day even though neither the event or the place is relevant to the story.
Away begs the question – as a mother, how far would you go to save your child? Lillian Leyb is a Russian widow, an orphan, and a mother who has lost her child to horrible violence during a Russian pogrom. As seemingly the only survivor of her family, she makes her way to America and it is in New York City where she tries to build a better life for herself as a seamstress in a theater company. When she hears that her four year old daughter might still be alive somewhere in Siberia, Lillian risks everything to get to her. She prostitutes her body, mind, and soul to get to Sophie. Lilian learns sex can be a weapon, a coping mechanism, but also her power and her comfort.
It is one thing to say Lillian traveled to Siberia from New York, but it is quite another to see a map of her arduous journey from Manhattan to Chicago, to Fargo, to Spokane, to Vancouver and Dawson. The miles stretch out in an impossible-to-fathom line from one coast to the other.
Confessional: towards the end of the book Lillian meets someone who is the epitome of safety and home. I had to skim further pages to make sure they stayed connected. I was way too impatient to let the story play out for itself.
Favorite quotes, “But in the morning everything can, and must, be seen” (p 219).
Author fact: I am also reading Bloom’s A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You, but she has written a bunch more.
Book trivia: Away is also in audio book format. Find it!
Nancy said: Pearl didn’t say anything about Away except to include it in the fiction about Siberia. It would have been more appropriate in a chapter about journeys or immigration.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Siberian Chills” (p 203).