by Sukey HowardNovember, 2007
<b>Sukey's favorite</b>Lillian Leyb watched as her mother, father and husband were butchered. Her four-year-old daughter Sophie got away, but Lillian could never find her. So, in 1924 she came to America to seek her fortune on New York's teeming streets. That's where Amy Bloom's <b>Away</b> begins. It isn't exactly a sweeping saga (the book has only 240 pages), but it sure feels like one, as it moves through the bloody pogrom in Russia; Lillian's immigrant arrival, Ellis Island and all; and her plucky bid for a job as seamstress in a famed Yiddish theater that quickly morphs to mistress of both the matinee idol and his burly father who runs the show. And we're only halfway there. When Lillian hears that Sophie might be alive, living in Siberia with another family, there's nothing for her to do but to go. The same indomitable strength that propelled her out of Russia now takes her on a long, cross-continental odyssey, a true walk on the wild side, as she tries to reach Siberia and Sophie. Bloom writes with humor and irreverence, with deep feeling for her characters and for the nature of love. Barbara Rosenblat, one of our very best audio narrators, performs with perfect pacing, adding resonance and depth to the story and the characters.