The World Without You

By Joshua Henkin
(Pantheon, Hardcover, 9780375424366, 336pp.)

Publication Date: June 19, 2012

List Price: $25.95*
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the July 2012 Indie Next List
“A year after a young journalist Leo Frankel is killed while covering the war in Iraq, his family gathers at their summer home in the Berkshires for a memorial service. This reunion is told form the perspectives of Leo's surviving family members: his mother and father, whose crumbling marriage is a casualty of Leo's death; Thisbe, his young widow, who feels guilty over a new romantic involvement; his sister Lily, who introduced Thisbe to her new lover; another sister, Noelle, a convert to Orthodox Judaism; and Clarissa, the oldest sister, whose desire to become pregnant has become obsessive since Leo's death. Henkin's sympathy for his characters is remarkable, as is his ability to capture the complexity and nuance in family relationships - shifting alliances, old resentments, persistent family myths, and most enduring of all, love.”
-- Ashley Montague, Pennsylvania Book Center, Philadelphia, PA


Description

***National Jewish Book Awards 2012, Finalist***
      JJ Greenberg Memorial Award for Fiction

From the author of the New York Times Notable Book Matrimony ["Beautiful . . . Brilliant."—Michael Cunningham], a moving, mesmerizing new novel about love, loss, and the aftermath of a family tragedy.

It’s July 4, 2005, and the Frankel family is descending upon their beloved summer home in the Berkshires. But this is no ordinary holiday. The family has gathered to memorialize Leo, the youngest of the four siblings, an intrepid journalist and adventurer who was killed on that day in 2004, while on assignment in Iraq.

The parents, Marilyn and David, are adrift in grief. Their forty-year marriage is falling apart. Clarissa, the eldest sibling and a former cello prodigy, has settled into an ambivalent domesticity and is struggling at age thirty-nine to become pregnant. Lily, a fiery-tempered lawyer and the family contrarian, is angry at everyone. And Noelle, whose teenage years were shadowed by promiscuity and school expulsions, has moved to Jerusalem and become a born-again Orthodox Jew. The last person to see Leo alive, Noelle has flown back for the memorial with her husband and four children, but she feels entirely out of place. And Thisbe —Leo’s widow and mother of their three-year-old son—has come from California bearing her own secret.

Set against the backdrop of Independence Day and the Iraq War, The World Without You is a novel about sibling rivalries and marital feuds, about volatile women and silent men, and, ultimately, about the true meaning of family.




About the Author

JOSHUA HENKIN is the author of the novels Swimming Across the Hudson (a Los Angeles Times Notable Book) and Matrimony (a New York Times Notable Book). His stories have been published widely, cited for distinction in Best American Short Stories and broadcast on NPR's Selected Shorts. He directs the MFA Program in Fiction Writing at Brooklyn College.

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