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The First Desireby Nancy Reisman
Synopses & Reviews
1929. Buffalo, New York. A beautiful July day, the kind one waits for through the long, cold winters. Sadie Feldstein, née Cohen, looks out her window at the unexpected sight of her brother, Irving. His news is even more unexpected, and unsettling: their elder sister, Goldie, has vanished without a trace.
With Goldie’s disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen
family and an American city, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. The story of the Cohens is seamlessly told from the various perspectives of siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving—each of whose worlds is upended over the course of the novel, the smooth veneer of their lives giving way to the vulnerabilities and secrets they’ve managed to keep hidden—and through the eyes of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father, Abe, took as a lover as his wife was dying. But while Abe’s affair with Lillian stuns his children, they are even more shocked by his cold anger in the wake of Goldie’s disappearance.
The First Desire is a book of great emotional power that brings to life the weave of love, grief, tradition, and desire that binds a family together, even through the tumultuous times that threaten to tear it apart.
From the Hardcover edition.
The lives of the four Cohen siblings--Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving--are turned upside down by the vulnerabilities and secrets that they have managed to keep hidden, even from themselves, as the sudden disappearance of Goldie sparks revelations about their family, in a story of love, grief, tradition, and desire that ranges from 1929 to the of World War II. Reader's Guide available. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.
When Sadie looks out her window and sees her bother standing on the front lawn she knows he can't bring good news. Fidgeting over coffee with sugar and cream he explains: Their sister is gone. Three days earlier Goldie left to go shopping and she has not returned.
With Goldie's disappearance as the catalyst, The First Desire takes us deep into the life of the Cohen family and Buffalo, New York, from the Great Depression to the years immediately following World War II. Shifting perspectives from siblings Sadie, Jo, Goldie, and Irving we learn of the secrets they have managed to keep hidden--and of Lillian, the beautiful woman their father took as a lover while his wife was dying. In this astonishing novel Reisman brings to life the love, grief, and desires that ultimately bind one family together.
About the Author
\Nancy Reisman is the author of House Fires, a short story collection that won the 1999 Iowa Short Fiction Award. Her work has appeared in, among other anthologies and journals, Best American Short Stories 2001, Tin House, and The Kenyon Review. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She lives in Ann Arbor, where she currently teaches creative writing at the University of Michigan.
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