Lynne Spreen's Reviews > Away

Away by Amy Bloom
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's review
Oct 13, 2012

it was amazing
Read in October, 2012

Just beautiful. Wonderfully written, rich (with often flinch-worthy grittiness) detail of a time and of places I had no knowledge of. Great pace, strong dramatic tension, fully developed characters, and a satisfying ending. I'd say Amy Bloom is in a class by herself but I can think of a few who are in her class: Ann Patchett, Annie Proulx, and Elizabeth Strout.

Here's a passage I found especially meaningful - one among many. Lillian is walking through Alaska, alone, on a mission to find her daughter:

"What Lillian can see clearly is her place in the scale of this country, how easily the entire Lower East Side could drop into the crevasses ahead of her. She is a gnat, and what had been her whole world is no more than a small junk pile, old boots and body parts, an overturned basket in the middle of the world's thoroughfare."

When are we anything more than this, really? Here's another:

"She believes in...curiosity (hers should have shrunk to nothing by now but feeds on something Lillian cannot make sense of) and she believes in will. It is so frail and delicate at night that she can't even imagine the next morning, but it is so wide and binding by the middle of the next day that she cannot even remember the terrible night. It is as if she gives birth every day."

My God, what a perfect description of daily redemption.

That passage spoke to me in an existential sense, and exemplifies the richly-layered writing for which Amy Bloom is so well known.

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