Judith Frank’s second novel is a powerful tale of a family working its way through unthinkable tragedy. It opens as Matt Greene and his partner, Daniel Rosen, are flying to Tel Aviv—Daniel’s twin brother and his wife have just been killed by a suicide bomber. Ilana and Joel left behind two small children, 6-year-old Gall and baby Noam. A devastated Daniel knows that his brother and sister-in-law wanted Matt and Daniel to raise the children if anything ever happened to them.

Ilana’s parents, Holocaust survivors and devout Jews, are stunned that their only remaining connection to Ilana will now live thousands of miles away with a gay couple. Daniel’s parents are nonplussed as well. They are not fans of Matt and feel as if they should have been the ones chosen to raise the children.

As is typical in tragedies, the characters focus their energy and emotions on the children left behind. Frank, however, spends a good deal of time focusing on the character of Daniel, the surviving twin and now foster father, who is overwhelmed with grief. The multilayered story is about the characters learning to live after a sudden and immense loss. With issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, terrorism, gay partnership and Judaism in America as a backdrop, All I Love and Know is a powerful novel about love, loss and the will to endure after inconceivable tragedy.

 

This article was originally published in the August 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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