The First Desire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The First Desire

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  17 reviews
When Sadie looks out her window and sees her bother standing on the front lawn she knows he can't bring good news. Fidgeting over coffee with sugar and cream he explains: Their sister is gone. Three days earlier Goldie left to go shopping and she has not returned. With Goldie's disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Anchor (first published September 14th 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The First Desire, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The First Desire

Evermore by Alyson NoelNorth of Beautiful by Justina ChenSelina Penaluna by Jan PageThis Lullaby by Sarah DessenBewitching Love Potions & Charms by Raven Tempest
Cover Couples
27th out of 710 books — 558 voters
Fallen by Lauren KateLeopard Moon by Jeanette BattistaChosen by P.C. CastDeadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria StolarzThe First Desire by Nancy Reisman
5th out of 324 books — 81 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 335)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Cheryl Gatling
The Cohens are a Jewish family in Buffalo. Father Abe owns a jewelry store. His wife is dead. He has five grown children. One day daughter Goldie goes out to do some shopping and never comes home. The book begins as a mystery. What has happened to Goldie? Is she dead? Will she come back? How will her absence change the family members she left behind? But years go by, and the story becomes about more than Goldie's absence. It's about the whole more or less dysfunctional family. Sadie, the respect...more
Anna Falbo
This book was recommended to me because it is set in Buffalo, New York, where I've lived for many years, and the person who made the recommendation thought I would enjoy reading about places with which I'm familiar. Usually this is true, and it remained true with this novel, but location alone wasn't enough to make me happy. This story of a Jewish family begins as a mystery when in 1929 one of the adult daughters goes missing. Her story, and that of the Cohen family, is told in chapters by a few...more
I just re-discovered the identity of this book. A good book, but very special to me because it is about a Jewish family in Buffalo during the first half of the 20th century, including a psychotic sister named Celia. All true of the paternal side of my family. Most was from before I was born, but a real sense of a community that was familiar with and wanted to know more about. Nostalgic, moody.
BookList: The bonds of family are like spiderwebs: deceptively delicate but tough beyond all reason should we try to break them. When Goldie Cohen, 33, goes missing following her mother’s death and her father’s hasty attachment to the town vixen, the family begins to unravel. Spanning 21 years, from the late 1920s to the ’50s, Reisman’s debut novel provides a glimpse into a splintered Jewish Russian immigrant family in upstate New York. Told from the alternating perspectives of the various Cohen...more
It took me a while to get into this book. it is essentially character-driven, everything revolving around the siblings in the family, and the mistress of the father. I thought it was odd to include Lillian, but not all of the siblings. These books that tell the story from the perspective of different people always seem slightly unsatisfying to me in that they don't tell the story from all of the people in the same situation and often seem to include some random other person. Ultimately, I found...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One of the best books I've read in a long time. It is set locally -- in Buffalo -- and it really looks into each of the characters, all part of Jewish family in the early 1900's. I found the frustration that each character lived with very believable and sympathized with their feelings of being trapped. It seemed only Goldie could break free, and maybe in her own way, due to her "simpleness" Celia was able to be more free. But Jo, Sadie, and Irving have their limitations and frustrations. Somehow...more
I read this in 2006 and absolutely loved it. The language, the secrets, the slow accretion of life . . . am now listening to the audiobook. Looking forward to Reisman's next book.
Celeste Ng
A quiet, thoughtful book that stayed with me long after I read it. I read it over again whenever I need a reminder of how powerful clean, pure, distilled prose can be.
I love that this book takes place in Western NY. The writing is fabulous and Reisman captures the essence of everyday life and life over time perfectly.
I liked this book. It told the story from the perspective of the different complex and flawed siblings. I recommend the book.
I tried for 25 pages but I just couldn't muster up any interest in Goldie's disappearance or how her family felt about it.
Diane Howard
A really great book. It held my interest right from the start; wondering what happened to the missing sister, Goldie.
Bookmarks Magazine

Critics generally applaud The First Desire as a triumph of style over substance

If you want your literature to match your furniture, you will definitely like this!
3 1/2 stars. Really good & very well- written.
Cathy Lind
Beautiful, sad, tender.
Kathleen marked it as to-read
Jul 18, 2014
Aracely marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2014
Rougeline marked it as to-read
Jun 17, 2014
Debi added it
May 28, 2014
Steph Battista
Steph Battista marked it as to-read
May 24, 2014
Phoebe marked it as to-read
May 23, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Really like this book 1 3 Jul 12, 2011 07:18PM  
House Fires Trompe l'Oeil Glimmer Train Stories, #73 American Fiction (Vol. 9)

Share This Book