Cover image for The lost family : a novel / Jenna Blum.
Title:
The lost family : a novel / Jenna Blum.
Author:
ISBN:
9780062742162
Edition:
First edition
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]

©2018
Physical Description:
417 pages ; 24 cm.
Abstract:
Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page 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 her own family and another lost before she was born. Blum creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.
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Summary

Summary

"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

The New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us creates a vivid portrait of marriage, family, and the haunting grief of World War II in this emotionally charged, beautifully rendered story that spans a generation, from the 1960s to the 1980s.

In 1965 Manhattan, patrons flock to Masha's to savor its brisket bourguignon 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 Peter does not care for the parade of eligible 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 his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of the 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 horror of the past. But over the next twenty years, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter Elsbeth, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways.

Jenna Blum artfully brings to the page 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 her own family and another lost before she was born. Spanning three cinematic decades, The Lost Family is a charming, funny, and elegantly bittersweet study of the repercussions of loss and love.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Blum (Those Who Save Us) examines the second family of a Holocaust survivor-his restless, ex-supermodel wife and their troubled teenage daughter-in this crisp vision of how seemingly random choices test love, loyalty, and survival. Peter is haunted by his failure to save his wife and twin daughters from death in Nazi Germany. Years later, in 1965, he rises to success as a celebrated chef in New York City with the help of illegal funds from cousin Sol. June gives up her career as a model to marry Peter and later raise their only child, Elsbeth, but then begins to doubt her suburban life-and the emotionally distant Peter-amid the women's liberation movement in 1975. Elsbeth, though pampered and privileged, throws herself into the drug-fueled, punk-populated New York City art world in 1985 to find the recognition and love she craves, risking her life through starvation to be the muse of photographer Julian. 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. Her story of a family struggling to tell the truth to one another-and to themselves-is bolstered by memorable characters, to whom readers will become attached. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

The Holocaust haunts Peter Rashkin. He owns a popular restaurant in 1965 New York; however, he hides the tattoo on his arm and the scars on his body and will not speak about his first wife, Masha, and twin daughters who were Hitler's victims while he survived. But when he meets a young model named June, Peter lowers his guard and begins a courtship. Yet over the next 20 years, his secret guilt destroys the new life he tries to make with June and their daughter, Elsbeth. Blum (Those Who Save Us) again skillfully explores the endless nightmares and pain of Holocaust survivors. Her sensitive depiction of Peter and his new family demonstrates how love doesn't always conquer all. She also shows how being kept in the dark about family secrets may lead to poor decisions on the part of those who want to know what happened but are unable to discover the truth. VERDICT 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. [See Prepub Alert, 12/1/17.]-Andrea Kempf, formerly with Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.