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Heir to the glimmering world
Cynthia Ozick
Adult Fiction OZICK

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Ozick's previous novel, The Puttermesser Papers, revolved around one quirky hero; this time around, Ozick incubates several. Characters, not plot, drive this Depression-era tale, and Ozick eviscerates each one through her narrator, Rose Meadows, a resolute 18-year-old orphan. Virtually abandoned, Rose wanders into a job with the Mitwisser family, German refugees in New York City. Filling gaping holes in their household, she becomes a research assistant to the father, a professor stubbornly engaged in German and Hebrew arcana; a nurse to his oft-deranged, sequestered wife; and nanny to their five children. As she penetrates the fog surrounding their history, Rose limns their roiling inner lives with exasperated perception. Mrs. Mitwisser especially chafes against the family's precarious, degrading status as "parasites," erratically supported by the unbalanced millionaire son and heir of an author of popular children's books who is fascinated by Mr. Mitwisser's research. With her trademark lyrical prose, gentle humor and vivid imagery, Ozick paints a textured portrait of outsiders rendered powerless, retreating into tightly coiled existences of scholarly rapture, guarded brazenness and even calculated lunacy all as a means of refuting the bleakness of a harsh, chaotic world. Erudite exposition is packed into the book, so that character study and discourse occasionally grind the plot to a halt. Edifying and evocative, if often daunting, this is a concentrated slice of eccentric life. Agent, Melanie Jackson. (Sept. 1) Forecast: This is Ozick's first book for Houghton Mifflin, and the publisher is backing it with a seven-city author tour. Despite its rigors, it may be an easier sell than The Puttermesser Papers; the family drama makes it more accessible. Foreign rights sold in Brazil, France, Italy, Norway and Spain. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Though known mainly for short stories distinguished by graceful language, Ozick here demonstrates her facility as a novelist, successfully mixing themes of faith, identity, and art into a crazy salad of a plot set in New York City during the Great Depression. When shy 18-year-old orphan Rose Meadows becomes secretary-factotum to Professor Rudolf Mitwisser, she finds herself in unstable surroundings. Obsessed with his researches into a radical Jewish sect, Mitwisser can't cope with the problems that he and his large, unruly family are facing as recent arrivals to the United States after fleeing the Nazis. The seven dysfunctional refugees, accustomed to luxury in Berlin, are now dependent on their sponsor, young millionaire James A'bair. Though generous, A'bair is neurotic and unreliable, having been emotionally unsettled by his childhood fame as the "Bear Boy" in his father's series of best-selling children's books. When James learns that Rose has inherited a first edition of the original story, complications abound, and Rose must face down family chaos to become her own woman. This witty book will appeal to admirers of the fanciful tales in Ozick's Puttermesser Papers and to readers seeking well-written novels with intellectual depth. Recommended for most collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/04.]-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Rudolf Mitwisser
Elsa's husband.

Elsa Mitwisser
Rudolf's wife; mother of five.

Rose Meadows
Age: 18

James A'bair
His father is a famous children's book author.

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