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On Division : A Novel.
2019
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Summary

"A novel of wisdom and uncertainty, of love in its greater and lesser forms, and of the struggle between how it should be and how it is. It is impossible not to be moved."
--Amy Bloom , author of White Houses

"This book brings the reader into the heart of a close-knit Jewish family and their joys, loves, and sorrows . . . A marvelous book by a masterful writer."
--Audrey Niffenegger , author of Her Fearful Symmetry and The Time Traveler's Wife

"As beautiful as it is unexpected."
--Claire Messud , author of The Burning Girl

Through one woman's life at a moment of surprising change, the award-winning author Goldie Goldbloom tells a deeply affecting, morally insightful story and offers a rare look inside Brooklyn's Chasidic community

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just a block or two up from the East River on Division Avenue, Surie Eckstein is soon to be a great-grandmother. Her ten children range in age from thirteen to thirty-nine. Her in-laws, postwar immigrants from Romania, live on the first floor of their house. Her daughter Tzila Ruchel lives on the second. She and Yidel, a scribe in such demand that he makes only a few Torah scrolls a year, live on the third. Wed when Surie was sixteen, they have a happy marriage anda full life, and, at the ages of fifty-seven and sixty-two, they are looking forward to some quiet time together.

Into this life of counted blessings comes a surprise. Surie is pregnant. Pregnant at fifty-seven. It is a shock. And at her age, at this stage, it is an aberration, a shift in the proper order of things, and a public display of private life. She feels exposed, ashamed. She is unable to share the news, even with her husband. And so for the first time in her life, she has a secret--a secret that slowly separates her from the community.

Goldie Goldbloom's On Division is an excavation of one woman's life, a story of awakening at middle age, and a thoughtful examination of the dynamics of self and collective identity. It is a steady-eyed look inside insular communities that also celebrates their comforts. It is a rare portrait of a long, happy marriage. And it is an unforgettable new novel from a writer whose imagination is matched only by the depth of her humanity.

Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Surie Eckstein is a pillar in her Chasidic neighborhood in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. She and her husband, Yidel, are the parents of 10 and the grandparents of 32. A breast-cancer survivor, Surie basks in the warmth of her teeming household, but she is haunted by the death of a son, whose tragic tale slowly emerges, and burdened with a mortifying secret: at 57 she is pregnant, with twins. As the months go by, marked by exuberant celebrations of Jewish holidays, Yidel remains strangely oblivious, and Surie envisions new possibilities as her midwife trains her to assist at the clinic. But Orthodox women are not allowed to be so worldly, and Surie fears the consequences for her family. Goldbloom's intimate descriptions of domestic hubbub, emotional tumult, and nature's vibrancy deepen this authentic and suspenseful portrait of a strong, conflicted woman. Award-winning novelist and LGBTQ activist Goldbloom, who is Chasidic and a mother of eight, vitally portrays the complex dynamics and paradoxes of a strictly regimented, unforgiving, yet loving religious enclave, and imaginatively and boldly explores the divide between tradition and compassion, community and self.--Donna Seaman Copyright 2010 Booklist
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