Left alone and penniless in 1935, 18-year-old Rose Meadows accepts a position working in the New York household of the peculiar Mitwisser family. Soon, she is drawn into their drama and becomes one of them for a time.
Cynthia Ozick, whose brilliant story, The Shawl, depicted the consequences of the Holocaust, again takes on the situation of people forever altered by what happened to them in Hitler's Germany. Told in a roundabout way, Heir to the Glimmering World has the power to make readers take a fresh look at what can seem a too-familiar story.
Bit by bit, the reader learns the full story of who the Mitwissers were and how they came to be in a house on the outskirts of the Bronx. Once a prominent physicist, Frau Elsa Mitwisser now spends her days in bed, afraid of what waits outside. Her husband Rudi, once a famed religious scholar, toils in obscurity researching an arcane Jewish sect. Their numerous rowdy children appear trapped between the family's old and new lives.
The destitute refugees are sponsored by a disturbed young man named James A'bair. James will one day alter the Mitwisser family's fate as suddenly and as whimsically as history once did. Coincidence rules in Ozick's world, bringing together unlikely characters whose principal commonality is that they are all outsiders. Sometimes funny, always intelligent, this novel will make new fans for Ozick. Anne Morris writes from Austin, Texas.