Poetry Madness
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


Interviews | April 8, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Gabrielle Zevin: The Powells.com Interview



Gabrielle ZevinThe American Booksellers Association collects nominations from bookstores all over the country for favorite forthcoming titles. The Storied Life of... Continue »
  1. $17.47 Sale Hardcover add to wish list

    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry

    Gabrielle Zevin 9781616203214

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$10.95
List price: $27.00
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

More copies of this ISBN

By Blood

by

By Blood Cover

ISBN13: 9780374117559
ISBN10: 0374117551
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $10.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The award-winning writer returns with a major, absorbing, atmospheric novel that takes on the most dramatic and profoundly personal subject matter

San Francisco in the 1970s. Free love has given way to radical feminism, psychedelic ecstasy to hard-edged gloom. The Zodiac Killer stalks the streets. A disgraced professor takes an office in a downtown tower to plot his return. But the walls are thin and hes distracted by voices from next door — his neighbor is a psychologist, and one of her patients dislikes the hum of the white-noise machine. And so he begins to hear about the patients troubles with her female lover, her conflicts with her adoptive, avowedly WASP family, and her quest to track down her birth mother. The professor is not just absorbed but enraptured. And the further he is pulled into the patients recounting of her dramas — and the most profound questions of her own identity — the more he needs the story to move forward. The patients questions about her birth family have led her to a Catholic charity that trafficked freshly baptized orphans out of Germany after World War II. But confronted with this new self — "I have no idea what it means to say 'I'm a Jew'" — the patient finds her search stalled. Armed with the few details hes gleaned, the professor takes up the quest and quickly finds the patients mother in records from a German displaced-persons camp. But he cant let on that hes been eavesdropping, so he mocks up a reply from an adoption agency the patient has contacted and drops it in the mail. Through the wall, he hears how his dear patient is energized by the news, and so is he. He unearths more clues and invests more and more in this secret, fraught, triangular relationship: himself, the patient, and her therapist, who is herself German. His research leads them deep into the history of displaced-persons camps, of postwar Zionism, and — most troubling of all — of the Nazi Lebensborn program.

With ferocious intelligence and an enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman weaves a dark and brilliant, intensely personal novel that feels as big and timeless as it is sharp and timely. It is an ambitious work that establishes her as a major writer.

Review:

"Set in a politically roiling mid-1970s San Francisco, Ullman's third novel (after The Bug) is a psychological thriller probing an uneasy, unwitting three-way relationship between a young lesbian, her German-born psychologist, and a voyeuristic academic. A disgraced 50-something classics professor, forced on academic leave pending an ethics investigation, rents office space next door to Dr. Dora Schussler, the daughter of a prominent Nazi, and finds himself entranced by her interactions with her patient, a lesbian economist in her 30s trying to make sense of her own adoption. The academic feels for the young woman, reflecting his own sense of not fitting in (an obsessive-compulsive, he has his own long history of analysis), and begins organizing his life around the patient's visits, in time becoming convinced that Dr. Shussler is impeding her patient's search. His empathy spurs him to research the patient's adoption himself, after which he clandestinely sends her reports, leading them all through the harrowing melodrama of a German woman caught in the Holocaust before making her way to Israel. Though this is an irresistible Hitchcockian page-turner, brooding and solipsistic, it lands too softly and feels unfinished, considering Dr. Schussler's inflammatory but untouched past. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME Entertainment." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

San Francisco, the 1970s. A disgraced professor takes an office in an old downtown building to plot his return. But he is distracted by the sounds coming from the next room, the office of a psychiatrist. He overhears the therapy sessions of a young lesbian who is in search of her adoptive family. Enraptured by the sound of her voice and obsessed with her story, the professor takes up the patients quest as his own and discovers the disturbing truth about her origins. As he sends each new revelation to the patient---disguised as correspondence from an adoption agency---she is energized by the information, but finds herself unmoored from everything she thought she knew about herself. With ferocious intelligence and enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman's By Blood is a dark and brilliant novel about connection, identity, history, and the terrible desire to influence another life.

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

San Francisco, the 1970s. A disgraced professor takes an office in an old downtown building to plot his return. But he is distracted by the sounds coming from the next room, the office of a psychiatrist. He overhears the therapy sessions of a young lesbian who is in search of her adoptive family. Enraptured by the sound of her voice and obsessed with her story, the professor takes up the patients quest as his own and discovers the disturbing truth about her origins. As he sends each new revelation to the patient---disguised as correspondence from an adoption agency---she is energized by the information, but finds herself unmoored from everything she thought she knew about herself. With ferocious intelligence and enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman's By Blood is a dark and brilliant novel about connection, identity, history, and the terrible desire to influence another life.

About the Author

Ellen Ullman is the author of a novel, The Bug, a New York Times Notable Book and runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the cult classic memoir Close to the Machine, based on her years as a rare female computer programmer in the early years of the personal computer era. She lives in San Francisco.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

Parker51, August 31, 2012 (view all comments by Parker51)
This novel is no doubt better than I'm prepared to admit. Meaning, it's not as bad as I think it is? And I'd recommend folks read it and make up their own minds.

She helps us - those of us who haven't thought about this in a while - consider fact the Europe's Jews didn't stop suffering after the concentration camps were liberated. They couldn't go home. They couldn't yet go to Israel (Palestine) either. This is important...look at the displaced persons in Syria today, in North Africa, wherever...and consider what their lives are like. Similar deal, no, for those who've left their homes and are wondering what kind of life their kids will now have?

But back to the book. It's a rather melodramatic tale...a 30-something woman, an adopted child, believing herself Catholic, finds - in Israel - her Jewsih "birth mother" and eventually discovers...well, no spoilers here. Set in San Francisco in the early 70s, by-the-way, so work backwards and and you'll have some sense of what her mother's history might be.

All of this is hung on a very creaky frame. Our heroine shares her story with her analyst, a story that's overheard by our narrator in the office next door. Sitting there with his lights out and trying not to breath. I think this is the key problem here. It strains credibilty and we thus lose sympathy with characters we should be identifying with. That our heroine's a lesbian (Lesbians!) strikes me as irrelevant.






Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Bookwomyn, May 14, 2012 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
This is the second book I've read recently which has someone listening in to a psychiatrist while she listens to her patients (both were women). In "By Blood" this situation is THE main event and then some. The listener proceeds to 'help' the patient and become quite paranoid about her. [The other book "Blue Monday" has a listener also but he does not get as involved with the patient.]

"By Blood" kept me interested to the end although I found some of the novel to be repetitive and feel it could have been edited better. I didn't like or sympathize with the protagonist but could not stop reading - had to find out how it ended.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374117559
Author:
Ullman, Ellen
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Jewish
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20120231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Other books you might like

  1. Friendly Persuasion Used Mass Market $2.95
  2. Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel
    Used Hardcover $3.95
  3. Leafy Rivers (Library of Indiana... Sale Trade Paper $2.50
  4. The Vanishers Used Hardcover $8.95
  5. Reading for My Life: Writings, 1958-2008 Used Trade Paper $12.50

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Jewish
By Blood Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374117559 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Set in a politically roiling mid-1970s San Francisco, Ullman's third novel (after The Bug) is a psychological thriller probing an uneasy, unwitting three-way relationship between a young lesbian, her German-born psychologist, and a voyeuristic academic. A disgraced 50-something classics professor, forced on academic leave pending an ethics investigation, rents office space next door to Dr. Dora Schussler, the daughter of a prominent Nazi, and finds himself entranced by her interactions with her patient, a lesbian economist in her 30s trying to make sense of her own adoption. The academic feels for the young woman, reflecting his own sense of not fitting in (an obsessive-compulsive, he has his own long history of analysis), and begins organizing his life around the patient's visits, in time becoming convinced that Dr. Shussler is impeding her patient's search. His empathy spurs him to research the patient's adoption himself, after which he clandestinely sends her reports, leading them all through the harrowing melodrama of a German woman caught in the Holocaust before making her way to Israel. Though this is an irresistible Hitchcockian page-turner, brooding and solipsistic, it lands too softly and feels unfinished, considering Dr. Schussler's inflammatory but untouched past. Agent: Jay Mandel, WME Entertainment." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by ,
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

San Francisco, the 1970s. A disgraced professor takes an office in an old downtown building to plot his return. But he is distracted by the sounds coming from the next room, the office of a psychiatrist. He overhears the therapy sessions of a young lesbian who is in search of her adoptive family. Enraptured by the sound of her voice and obsessed with her story, the professor takes up the patients quest as his own and discovers the disturbing truth about her origins. As he sends each new revelation to the patient---disguised as correspondence from an adoption agency---she is energized by the information, but finds herself unmoored from everything she thought she knew about herself. With ferocious intelligence and enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman's By Blood is a dark and brilliant novel about connection, identity, history, and the terrible desire to influence another life.

"Synopsis" by ,
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

San Francisco, the 1970s. A disgraced professor takes an office in an old downtown building to plot his return. But he is distracted by the sounds coming from the next room, the office of a psychiatrist. He overhears the therapy sessions of a young lesbian who is in search of her adoptive family. Enraptured by the sound of her voice and obsessed with her story, the professor takes up the patients quest as his own and discovers the disturbing truth about her origins. As he sends each new revelation to the patient---disguised as correspondence from an adoption agency---she is energized by the information, but finds herself unmoored from everything she thought she knew about herself. With ferocious intelligence and enthralling, magnetic prose, Ellen Ullman's By Blood is a dark and brilliant novel about connection, identity, history, and the terrible desire to influence another life.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.