Tournament of Books 2015
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Original Essays | February 16, 2015

    Mary Pilon: IMG The Coffee Shops I Have Loved



    "Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?" – Albert Camus In the five years it took for me to complete my book, The Monopolists, I wrote... Continue »

    spacer

This item may be
out of stock.

Click on the button below to search for this title in other formats.


Check for Availability
Add to Wishlist

The Empress of Weehawken

The Empress of Weehawken Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

At the end of what is (she cannot help observing) an extraordinary life, Elisabeth Rother has decided to write her memoirs. She brushes aside her narrow escape with her Jewish husband from the Nazis, and the perilous voyage to the New World of New Jersey. The subject that really consumes her is the waywardness of her impossible daughter, Renate, and her granddaughter, Irene.
 
Renate performs autopsies on the bodies of politicians whom death has harvested in the nighttime arms of their mistresses. Worse, she sleeps on unironed sheets. Irene drops out of school to roam the world, refuses to correct her nose with plastic surgery, and shows alarming signs of enjoying sex. What is to be done with such women?

A curiously touching love letter to the difficult but sustaining love of mothers and daughters, The Empress of Weehawken is a masterpiece of comedy with an unexpected lilt of redemption at its close.

Irene Dische's work has appeared in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, and her books, published in twenty-two countries, have included international bestsellers. She divides her time between Berlin and Rhinebeck, New York.

At the end of a long andaccording to herextraordinary life, Elisabeth Rother has decided to write her memoirs. Dwelling lovingly on her narrow escape from the Nazis with her Jewish husband and their perilous voyage to the New World of Weehawken, New Jersey. The subject that really consumes herbecause what is a memoir if not a chance to even old scores?is the waywardness of her impossible daughter, Renate, and granddaughter, Irene.

Renate persists in falling in love with geniuses who have bad table manners. She snubs a suitable career as a concert pianist to become New York's medical examiner, performing autopsies on the bodies of politicians whom death has harvested in the nighttime arms of their mistresses. Worse, she sleeps on unironed sheets. Irene brings pickled babies to school for show-and-tell, drops out (or is kicked out) in order to roam the world, refuses to address the problem of her nose with plastic surgery, and shows signs of enjoying sex. What is to done with such women?

Written in the voice of the author's very real grandmother, this novel, is, in the end, a surprising love letter to the complicated but sustaining bond between mothers and daughters. The Empress of Weehawken is a masterpiece of comedy with an unexpected lilt of redemption at its close.  

"Self-centered, insufferable narrators are hardly strangers to contemporary fiction, but it helps if they're as funny as they are grandiloquent . . . The voice of the reprobate-empress here is pitch-perfect . . . Dische has captured this fictionalized grandmother . . . with pepper and grace."Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe

"A vivid, rollicking tour . . . The real grandeur of The Empress of Weehawken . . . lies in the narrator's voice. Pure as a bell, always unerringly true to character, Frau Rother is drawn as accurately as the slice of a surgeon's scalpel. And that's what the author is doing here, performing autopsies on the characters of her family."Los Angeles Times

"Superb . . . Razor-sharp, desert-dry and luxuriantly ironic . . . The story covers three generations, yet no individual is given short shrift, and even minor players are multidimensional. Frau Rother herself is an absolute triumph . . . While completely satisfying, the last page feels turned too soon. That bittersweet sense of having enjoyed the ride but being sad that its over is as much as any reader can ask for."The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Brilliant . . . discomfitingly funny . . . [Dische's] narrator is as winning and willful as any reader could wish for . . . [A] marvelous exploration of honor and identity, greed, sacrifice and just deserts . . . Just as Dische's staccato rhythms and deadpan sentences stretch into lyricism, so too what seems stark, even cynical, moves into an entirely unsentimental, deeply satisfying (and sometimes scary) love."Newsday

"Dense, dark family history loosely based on the author's own becomes relatable and funny through the no-nonsense narration of Elisabeth Rother, an upstanding Catholic German who marries a Jewish doctor before WWII."Entertainment Weekly

"Incredibly witty, beautifully written . . . The Empress of Weehawken is a potent stew of class, sex and religion, as well as cultural and generational clashes, and Dische crafts a glorious misanthrope in her fictionalized version of her grandmother."The Star-Ledger

"A vivid, rollicking tour . . . The real grandeur of The Empress of Weehawken . . . lies in the narrator's voice. Pure as a bell, always unerringly true to character, Frau Rother is drawn as accurately as the slice of a surgeons scalpel. And that's what the author is doing here, performing autopsies on the characters of her family."Los Angeles Times

"Superb . . . Razor-sharp, desert-dry and luxuriantly ironic . . . The story covers three generations, yet no individual is given short shrift, and even minor players are multidimensional."The San Diego Union-Tribune

"Dense, dark family history loosely based on the author's own becomes relatable and funny through the no-nonsense narration of Elisabeth Rother, an upstanding Catholic German who marries a Jewish doctor before WWII."Entertainment Weekly

"Frau Professor Doktor Rother is stubborn, mean-spirited, hypochondriacal, devoid of the slightest sentimentality, a creature of infinite blame and contempt. She is also, by the way, frighteningly funny. Two parts honesty, one part arsenic. I couldn't get enough of her life storyshe made me laugh at the shock of it all."Glen David Gold, author of Carter Beats the Devil

"The Empress never stops talking, even after shes dead, and the wonderful part is that youre glad. She's funny, wise, and unpredictable. Her story spans three generations and two continents, and every page is a delight."Jane Juska, author of A Round-Heeled Woman

"Dische manages to blend the comic and the poignant in a style that captivates and delights . . . Highly recommended. Library Journal (starred review)

"Frau Professor Doktor Rother, the narrator of this brutally funny debut, is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic, fiercely proud of her Aryan heritage and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. As a German army nurse in WWI, Elizabeth Gierlich meets wealthy Jewish surgeon Carl Rother and marries him once he converts to Catholicism. They have a 'racially impure' daughter, Renate, whom Elizabeth mocks and chastises relentlessly, even as she dotes on her. After the Nazis rise to power in Germany, life for Elizabeth's in-laws becomes precarious ('forced labor was not a high-earning profession'), and Carl's 'honorary Aryan' status can't protect him from the SS once he irks them by protesting the forced sterilization of Jews. The Rothers flee to the 'less-civilized world' of Weehawken, N.J., where Renate grows up, marries Jewish professor Dische, becomes a successful pathologist and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter, Irene, whose adventures, tracked via letters and collect calls home, take her across the Middle East and Africa. Elizabeth dies in 1989, still outspoken and bigoted, and continues to meddle in her beloved daughter's life from Heaven. Dische evokes human failings

Review:

"Frau Professor Doktor Rother, the narrator of this brutally funny debut, is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic, fiercely proud of her Aryan heritage and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. As a German army nurse in WWI, Elizabeth Gierlich meets wealthy Jewish surgeon Carl Rother and marries him once he converts to Catholicism. They have a "racially impure" daughter, Renate, whom Elizabeth mocks and chastises relentlessly, even as she dotes on her. After the Nazis rise to power in Germany, life for Elizabeth's in-laws becomes precarious ("forced labor was not a high-earning profession"), and Carl's "honorary Aryan" status can't protect him from the SS once he irks them by protesting the forced sterilization of Jews. The Rothers flee to the "less-civilized world" of Weehawken, N.J., where Renate grows up, marries Jewish professor Dische, becomes a successful pathologist and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter, Irene, whose adventures, tracked via letters and collect calls home, take her across the Middle East and Africa. Elizabeth dies in 1989, still outspoken and bigoted, and continues to meddle in her beloved daughter's life from Heaven. Dische evokes human failings so skillfully that readers will catch themselves laughing at mankind at its cruelest and darkest." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'Frau Professor Doktor Rother, the narrator of this brutally funny debut, is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic, fiercely proud of her Aryan heritage and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. As a German army nurse in WWI, Elizabeth Gierlich meets wealthy Jewish surgeon Carl Rother and marries him once he converts to Catholicism. They have a 'racially impure' daughter, Renate, whom Elizabeth mocks and chastises relentlessly, even as she dotes on her. After the Nazis rise to power in Germany, life for Elizabeth's in-laws becomes precarious ('forced labor was not a high-earning profession'), and Carl's 'honorary Aryan' status can't protect him from the SS once he irks them by protesting the forced sterilization of Jews. The Rothers flee to the 'less-civilized world' of Weehawken, N.J., where Renate grows up, marries Jewish professor Dische, becomes a successful pathologist and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter, Irene, whose adventures, tracked via letters and collect calls home, take her across the Middle East and Africa. Elizabeth dies in 1989, still outspoken and bigoted, and continues to meddle in her beloved daughter's life from Heaven. Dische evokes human failings so skillfully that readers will catch themselves laughing at mankind at its cruelest and darkest.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

At the end of what is (she cannot help observing) an extraordinary life, Elisabeth Rother has decided to write her memoirs. She recounts her narrow escape with her Jewish husband from the Nazis, and the perilous voyage to the New World of New Jersey, but those, for her, are mere facts of life. For Elisabeth, bighearted and obstinate, the most bothersome and consuming subjects are the unconventional paths and waywardness of her daughter, Renate, and her granddaughter, Irene.

The Empress of Weehawken is a curiously touching love letter to the difficult but sustaining love of mothers and daughters. Written in the voice of the author's very real grandmother, it is "superb . . . razor-sharp, desert-dry, and luxuriantly ironic" (The San Diego Union-Tribune).

Synopsis:

A curiously touching love letter to the difficult but sustaining love of mothers and daughters, "The Empress of Weehawken" presents a masterpiece of comedy with an unexpected lilt of redemption at its close.

About the Author

Irene Dische's work has appeared in numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, and her books, published in twenty-two countries, have included international bestsellers. She divides her time between Berlin and Rhinebeck, New York.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374299125
Subtitle:
A Novel
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Author:
Dische, Irene
Subject:
General
Subject:
Grandmothers
Subject:
Intergenerational relations
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Humorous fiction
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Publication Date:
20070807
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Empress of Weehawken
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 320 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374299125 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Frau Professor Doktor Rother, the narrator of this brutally funny debut, is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic, fiercely proud of her Aryan heritage and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. As a German army nurse in WWI, Elizabeth Gierlich meets wealthy Jewish surgeon Carl Rother and marries him once he converts to Catholicism. They have a "racially impure" daughter, Renate, whom Elizabeth mocks and chastises relentlessly, even as she dotes on her. After the Nazis rise to power in Germany, life for Elizabeth's in-laws becomes precarious ("forced labor was not a high-earning profession"), and Carl's "honorary Aryan" status can't protect him from the SS once he irks them by protesting the forced sterilization of Jews. The Rothers flee to the "less-civilized world" of Weehawken, N.J., where Renate grows up, marries Jewish professor Dische, becomes a successful pathologist and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter, Irene, whose adventures, tracked via letters and collect calls home, take her across the Middle East and Africa. Elizabeth dies in 1989, still outspoken and bigoted, and continues to meddle in her beloved daughter's life from Heaven. Dische evokes human failings so skillfully that readers will catch themselves laughing at mankind at its cruelest and darkest." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "'Frau Professor Doktor Rother, the narrator of this brutally funny debut, is self-centered, cynical, sarcastic, fiercely proud of her Aryan heritage and incorrigibly anti-Semitic. As a German army nurse in WWI, Elizabeth Gierlich meets wealthy Jewish surgeon Carl Rother and marries him once he converts to Catholicism. They have a 'racially impure' daughter, Renate, whom Elizabeth mocks and chastises relentlessly, even as she dotes on her. After the Nazis rise to power in Germany, life for Elizabeth's in-laws becomes precarious ('forced labor was not a high-earning profession'), and Carl's 'honorary Aryan' status can't protect him from the SS once he irks them by protesting the forced sterilization of Jews. The Rothers flee to the 'less-civilized world' of Weehawken, N.J., where Renate grows up, marries Jewish professor Dische, becomes a successful pathologist and has two children, a boy too intelligent for his own good and a rebellious daughter, Irene, whose adventures, tracked via letters and collect calls home, take her across the Middle East and Africa. Elizabeth dies in 1989, still outspoken and bigoted, and continues to meddle in her beloved daughter's life from Heaven. Dische evokes human failings so skillfully that readers will catch themselves laughing at mankind at its cruelest and darkest.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,

At the end of what is (she cannot help observing) an extraordinary life, Elisabeth Rother has decided to write her memoirs. She recounts her narrow escape with her Jewish husband from the Nazis, and the perilous voyage to the New World of New Jersey, but those, for her, are mere facts of life. For Elisabeth, bighearted and obstinate, the most bothersome and consuming subjects are the unconventional paths and waywardness of her daughter, Renate, and her granddaughter, Irene.

The Empress of Weehawken is a curiously touching love letter to the difficult but sustaining love of mothers and daughters. Written in the voice of the author's very real grandmother, it is "superb . . . razor-sharp, desert-dry, and luxuriantly ironic" (The San Diego Union-Tribune).

"Synopsis" by , A curiously touching love letter to the difficult but sustaining love of mothers and daughters, "The Empress of Weehawken" presents a masterpiece of comedy with an unexpected lilt of redemption at its close.
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.