By Jennifer Gilmore
(Scribner, Hardcover, 9781416571704, 320pp.)
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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When Jennifer Gilmore’s first novel, Golden Country, was published, The New York Times Book Review called it "an ingeniously plotted family yarn" and praised her as an author who "enlivens the myth of the American Dream." Gilmore’s particular gift for distilling history into a hugely satisfying, multigenerational family story is taken to new levels in her second novel.
In Washington, D.C., life inside the Goldstein home is as tumultuous as the shifting landscape of the times. It is 1979, and Benjamin is heading off to college and sixteen-year-old Vanessa is in the throes of a rocky adolescence. Sharon, a caterer for the Washington elite, ventures into a cultlike organization. And Dennis, whose government job often takes him to Moscow, tries to live up to his father’s legacy as a union organizer and community leader.
The rise of communism and the execution of the Rosenbergs is history. The Cold War is waning, the soldiers who fought in Vietnam have all come home, and Carter is president. The age of protest has come and gone and yet each of the Goldsteins is forced to confront the changes the new decade will bring and explore what it really means to be a radical.
Something Red is at once a poignant story of husbands and wives, parents and children, activists and spies, and a masterfully built novel that unfurls with suspense and humor.
Jennifer Gilmore is the author Golden Country, a 2006 New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Jewish Book Award, and Something Red, a New York Times Notable Book of 2010. Her work has appeared in Allure, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, and The Washington Post. She lives in Brooklyn.
- Gilmore includes an epigraph selected from Grace Paley’s “Faith in the Afternoon” that reads “If you have something sensible to say, don’t wait. Shout it out loud right this minute.” Do you think these lines effectively capture the tone of the novel? Why or why not?
"Rich and entertaining." -Vanity Fair
"Ambitious and provocative, more Molotov cocktail than standard-issue domestic drama, raising profound questions about loyalty, independence, love of family and of country." -O, The Oprah Magazine
“Gilmore glides smoothly from one perspective to another, giving equal and anxious weight to each…Gilmore has pulled off a remarkable feat: not of fusing the personal and the political but of showing why they’re so difficult to reconcile.” —Susann Cokal, New York Times Book Review
“Rendering the Goldsteins with appealing vividness, Gilmore seems mostly interested in their inner lives. She digs deep into their histories—both personal and familial—to get at the root of their beliefs and to hint at their spiraling disenchantment.” —LA Times
"[A] richly textured story of the irritations, disappointments, disruptions and remembered joys of family life." -Judith Viorst, Moment Magazine
“In this wonderfully funny and compelling story of a splintering suburban family, Gilmore has written an intimate social history of three generations of American Jews.” –Washington Post