Panoramic in scope, Away is the epic and intimate story of young Lillian Leyb, a dangerous innocent, an accidental heroine. When her family is destroyed in a Russian pogrom, Lillian comes to America alone, determined to make her way in a new land. When word comes that her daughter, Sophie, might still be alive, Lillian embarks on an odyssey that takes her from the world of the Yiddish theater on New York’s Lower East Side, to Seattle’s Jazz District, and up to Alaska, along the fabled Telegraph Trail toward Siberia. All of the qualities readers love in Amy Bloom’s work– her humor and wit, her elegant and irreverent language, her unflinching understanding of passion and the human heart– come together in the embrace of this brilliant novel, which is at once heartbreaking, romantic,and completely unforgettable.
“The journey–through Chicago by train, into Seattle’s African-American underworld and across the Alaskan wilderness–elevates Bloom’s novel from familiar immigrant chronicle to sweeping saga of endurance and rebirth. Encompassing prison, prostitution and poetry, Yiddish humor and Yukon settings, Bloom’s tale offers linguistic twists, startling imagery, sharp wit and a compelling vision of the past. Bloom has created an extraordinary range of characters, settings and emotions.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Summary doesn’t do justice to this compact epic’s richness of episode and characterization, nor to the exemplary skill with which Bloom increases her story’s resonance through dramatic foreshadowing of what lies ahead . . . .Echoes of Ragtime, Cold Mountain and Irving Howe’s World of Our Fathers, in an amazingly dense, impressively original novel.” – Kirkus Reviews
“An urgent, riveting, fabulously entertaining road trip of a novel, Away grabs you by the throat from the first page to the last, breaks your heart and shakes all your senses awake.” – Emma Donoghue, author of Touchy Subjects
“Amy Bloom’s work has always revolved around what love and desire can make us do. In Away, she paints filial love on an immense geographic and historical canvas. The result, a story of loss and survival, is gripping.” – Christopher Tilghman, author of Roads of the Heart
“This beautiful, effulgent book sped me forward word by word, out of the room I was in and into Amy Bloom’s world. This is a wonderful novel, a cosmos which transcends its time period and grabs us without compromise. Lillian’s astonishing journey, driven by a mother’s love, will be with me for a long, long time.” – Ron Carlson, author of The Speed of Light
“I haven’t read a novel in a long time where I genuinely wanted to get back to it, just to sit down and read for the pure joy of it. It is a book full of tender wisdom, brawling insight, sharp-edged humor and–if it’s possible–a lovely, wayward precision. Amy Bloom has created an unforgettable cast of characters. Lillian, the heroine, or anti-heroine, somehow always manages what great journeys always do – she continues. A marvelous book.” – Colum McCann, author of Zoli
“Raunchy, funny, and touching. Away is an elegant window into the perils of invention and reinvention in New York in the twenties. Amy Bloom’s heroine, Lillian, is an unforgettable young woman on a quest to make her life whole and to belong in an unstable, yet fascinating, new American world.” – Caryl Phillips, author of A Distant Shore