Paperbacks: Away, by Amy Bloom

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The Independent Culture

Short-story writer Amy Bloom comes into her own with a highly entertaining, and snappily told, saga of Jewish immigration. At 22, Lillian Leyb's family is butchered in a Russian pogrom.

Starting over in Manhattan, Lillian is taken under the wing of a family of famous Yiddish impresarios. Not long into her new city life, Lillian learns that that her young daughter, Sophie, may have survived the massacre. What makes this historical saga so compelling is not only the dramatic story of Lillian's reverse transcontinental schlep, but the fact that Bloom endows her heroine with a personality as fully nuanced as any character in a novel with a more contemporary setting.