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Swimming Toward the Ocean

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Swimming Toward the Ocean Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the author of the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning collection Useful Gifts, a sharp and tender debut novel chronicling the boisterous life and loves of a Russian Jewish immigrant family in 1950s New York City.

Chenia is a Betty Grable look-alike, passionate, sharp-witted, in many ways still Old-World. Her husband Ruben is a handsome philanderer; they have three children. No one expects the devoted Chenia to fall under the spell of a lover of her own, but the Arnows’ lives unfold in many surprises. In tart and seductive storytelling, Swimming Toward the Ocean follows husbands and wives and children through an often comical kaleidoscope of shifting and misguided connections, ever sympathetic to their restless–if stumbling–quests for love.

Synopsis:

From the author of the Flannery O'Connor Award-winning collection "Useful Gifts" comes a sharp and tender debut novel chronicling the boisterous life and loves of a Russian Jewish immigrant family in 1950s New York City.

Synopsis:

Chenia Arnow is a Russian-Jewish immigrant in 1950s New York, a sharp-witted, Betty Grable look-alike whose accent and Old-World superstitions mask untapped passions and intellectual curiosity. Her husband Ruben is a handsome philanderer who has a knack for creating phony lawsuits. Their precocious daughter Devorah, tells-and often imagines-the richly involving story of their lives.

No one expects the devoted Chenia to fall under the spell of a lover of her own, but the Arnows' lives unfold in many surprises. In tart and seductive storytelling, Swimming Toward the Ocean follows husbands and wives and children through often shifting and misguided connections, illuminating the timeless patterns of immigrant life, and the search for love and a place in a new world.

About the Author

Born in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, Carole Glickfeld grew up in the Inwood section of Manhattan, not far from the Cloisters, the museum of medieval treasures that expands the horizons of Chenia Arnow, the main character in Swimming Toward the Ocean. In sixth grade at PS 152, Carole began her literary career, writing a short story about a boy and his dog, two subjects that, at age ten, she knew nothing about but chose to imagine. Already she had been inspired by Jo March in Little Women.

In high school, she took a creative writing class--not a happy experience. Her teacher shamed her for writing about a teenage boy and girl who differed over how sexually intimate they wished to be. From then on, Carole was mostly a closet writer. Between high school and college, she worked as a salad girl in the Catskill Mountains. That summer, she wrote a story about a woman and her still-born child, which, uncharacteristically, she read to her three roommates. They cried. This was heady reinforcement for a fifteen-year-old writer-to-be.

At the City College of New York, Carole studied Latin and French, minoring in English literature. She enrolled in the Ph.D. program in English literature at Hunter College. Realizing she was too shy ever to teach, she dropped out. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked in politics and government and lost her shyness. For the past ten years, she has taught creative writing classes at the University of Washington, mostly to adults.

Her first book, Useful Gifts, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, is about a family with deaf parents and hearing children. While the stories are not autobiographical, Carole drew on her own background as a CODA (child of deaf adults). American Sign Language was practically her first language. Although her two books are set in New York City, she has written fiction that is set in other places (e.g., Michigan, because she was writer-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy; Seattle, where she currently resides). She has written a one-act play, "The Challenge," that has been performed by hundreds of senior citizen groups in the U.S. and Canada.

The recipient of a Literary Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she was a Fellow at Bread Loaf, MacDowell Colony and Virginia Arts Center. Since residing in the Northwest, she has won some local grants and the Washington State Governor's Arts Award.

Carole is a night writer, beginning around midnight and working till around 4 a.m. She rises around noon and goes to her local Starbucks in Seattle (actually the second store established) to edit what she wrote the night before. One day, sipping coffee, she had an image of a woman going up to the roof in an apartment building. Suddenly she knew why the woman was going up to the roof. Though she writes on a computer, on this day, she wrote long-hand, surprised to see a story tumble out that begins with a fetus in her mother's womb. This became the opening of Swimming Toward the Ocean.

Writing is an act of discovery, Carole says. She writes out of the subconscious, without consciously controlling her characters or their actions. One of the joys of writing for her is finding out WHAT HAPPENS. Nevertheless, she is a relentless reviser. Once the draft is written, she pores over every word, paring and polishing. Mostly I re-write," she says.

Kirkus Reviews calls Swimming Toward the Ocean, published in hardcover by Knopf in 2001, "luminous with clear-sighted compassion for its imperfect characters, alive to life's bitter disappointments and transcendent possibilities; very exciting fiction indeed."

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385721769
Author:
Glickfeld, Carole L.
Publisher:
Anchor Books
Author:
Glickfeld, Carole L.
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Adultery
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Russian Americans
Subject:
Brooklyn
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
[00-2]
Publication Date:
20020231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
8.04x5.18x.86 in. .65 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Swimming Toward the Ocean Used Trade Paper
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Product details 400 pages Anchor Books/Doubleday - English 9780385721769 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From the author of the Flannery O'Connor Award-winning collection "Useful Gifts" comes a sharp and tender debut novel chronicling the boisterous life and loves of a Russian Jewish immigrant family in 1950s New York City.
"Synopsis" by , Chenia Arnow is a Russian-Jewish immigrant in 1950s New York, a sharp-witted, Betty Grable look-alike whose accent and Old-World superstitions mask untapped passions and intellectual curiosity. Her husband Ruben is a handsome philanderer who has a knack for creating phony lawsuits. Their precocious daughter Devorah, tells-and often imagines-the richly involving story of their lives.

No one expects the devoted Chenia to fall under the spell of a lover of her own, but the Arnows' lives unfold in many surprises. In tart and seductive storytelling, Swimming Toward the Ocean follows husbands and wives and children through often shifting and misguided connections, illuminating the timeless patterns of immigrant life, and the search for love and a place in a new world.

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