Synopses & Reviews
“Sassy, brash, acrobatic and colorful . . . I want to read it again and again.” —Time
“Impressive . . . Soffers style is natural and assured.” —Meg Wolitzer, All Things Considered, NPR
Lorca spends her life poring over cookbooks to earn the love of her distracted mother, a chef, who is now packing her off to boarding school. Desperate to prove herself, Lorca resolves to track down the recipe for her mothers ideal meal. She signs up for cooking lessons from Victoria, an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant profoundly shaken by her husbands death. Soon these two women develop a deeper bond while their concoctions—cardamom pistachio cookies, baklava, and masgouf—bake in Victorias kitchen. But their individual endeavors force a reckoning with the past, the future, and the truth—whatever it might be.
In Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots we see how food sustains not just our bodies, but our hopes as well. Bukra fil mish mish, the Arabic saying goes. Tomorrow, apricots may bloom.
“A profound and necessary new voice. Soffers prose is as controlled as it is fresh, as incisive as it is musical. Soffer has arrived early, with an orchestra of talent at her disposal.” —Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin
“Moving [and] extraordinary.” —Atlantic
“A work of beauty in words . . . Soffer is a master artist painting the hidden hues of the human soul.” —New York Journal of Books
"Out of the clear blue, here is a breathless telling of a tale we've never heard before. Haunting and lovely, pitch-perfect, this book could not be more timely." Barbara Kingsolver
"The Girl Who Fell from the Sky can actually fly....Its energy comes from its vividly realized characters, from how they perceive one another. Durrow has a terrific ear for dialogue, an ability to summon a wealth of hopes and fears in a single line." New York Times Book Review
"[An] affecting, exquisite debut novel....Durrow's powerful novel is poised to find a place among classic stories of the American experience." Miami Herald
"An auspicious debut...[Durrow] has crafted a modern story about identity and survival." Washington Post
"Rachel's voice resonated in my reading mind in much the same way as did that of the young protagonist of The House on Mango Street. There's an achingly honest quality to it; both wise and naive, it makes you want to step between the pages to lend comfort." NPR's Morning Edition
"Stunning . . . What makes Durrow's novel soar is her masterful sense of voice, her assured, nuanced handling of complex racial issues--and her heart."
"The Girl Who Fell from the Sky
is that rare thing: a post-postmodern novel with heart that weaves a circle of stories about race and self-discovery into a tense and sometimes terrifying whole."
"Heidi Durrow is a wonderfully gifted writer who can summon a voice, a memorable character, with bold, swift strokes. [This] is a gem." --Jay Parini, author of Promised Land
"It engages the heart as much as it does the mind...Unforgettable." --Whitney Otto, author of A Collection of Beauties at the Height of their Popularity
"One of the most convincing, original, and moving novels in the distinguished canon of American interracial literature."
--George Hutchinson, author of In Search of Nella Larsen
"A heartbreaking debut . . . keeps the reader in thrall." --Boston Globe
NPR's Morning Edition
"Hauntingly beautiful prose . . . Exquisitely told . . . Rachel's tale has the potential of becoming seared in your memory." --Dallas Morning News
The New York Times Book Review
"Soffer's breathtaking prose interweaves delectable descriptions of food with a profoundly redemptive story about loss, self-discovery, and acceptance."
—O: The Oprah Magazine
"Sassy, brash, acrobatic and colorful. . . I want to read it again and again—a novel about an elderly Iraqi Jewish immigrant and a 14-year-old pain addict, a novel of redemption and joy, a novel of history and belonging, beautifully written and sharply felt. It is a love song to both American and Iraqi culture, a sly political allegory and a homage to loneliness."
—Colum McCann, Time
"In this novel of shifting point of views, you want to linger longest with Lorca; both her shortcomings and her desires are so identifiable you cant help but root for her."
"Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is an astounding accomplisment for a young, new voice. Undoubtedly this is the beginining of a spectacular career."
"Told in Victoria and Lorca's alternating first-person voices, the character driven novel… offers fully realized, multidimensional characters who invite empathy and compassion."
"Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is an exceptional novel, filled with well-wrought characters and sharp, beautiful prose. This profound story of two lonely people who find common ground in food, told in Soffer's singular voice, is unforgettable."
"An unhappy teen and a shellshocked widow make a vital connection, though not the one they initially think, in Soffers somber debut....Well-written and atmospheric."
"An incredibly talented and promising new author. Soffer's writing. . . sears across the page."
"This powerful debut sheds light on the meaning and power of family, whether its members are blood-related or “created” by nonrelatives. Food is what strengthens relationships here. . . However, it is not just the love of food but understanding and acceptance that help to make this such a lovely novel."
—Library Journal, starred review
"Lovers of food-centered fiction should find some nourishment in Soffers debut."
"This first novel by Jessica Soffer is a work of beauty in words. There is no dead wood in this story; not a word is indispensable. Ms. Soffer is a master artist painting the hidden hues of the human soul. Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is an intelligent work in the vein of Azar Nafisi where the humanity of the characters transcends cultural or national differences and illustrates commonalities."
—New York Journal of Books
"Soffer's descriptions of food as well as emotional connections are richly layered."
"Soffers wonderful debut paints an elegant portrait of two women lost in the crush, who find themselves and each other through food. Delicious in more ways than one."
"A poignant story of love, acceptance and memory. . . Beautifully written with a deep understanding of both woman and girl, the book is a first novel for Jessica Soffer, daughter of an Iraqi Jewish artist, whose imagination and versatility bode well for her future."
"Lush and layered...This is story about family and love, and how food feeds both of these, but also a story of loss and pain and the empty stomachs of those still learning how to feel. For that I find it, much like life, alive and sobering, buoyant and blue, at times dark, but only until the light fills the room."
“[A story] of love, craving and family lost and gained, all through the experience of food — particularly the tangy, smoky, cardamom and saffron-spiced dishes of the Persian Gulf....[Soffer's] writing is as painful as it is exquisite, and [her book] exposes the raw power of love."
"What makes a family? Where do we find our sustenance? Jessica Soffer examines the often debated questions with artful storytelling. She calls on all of our senses to consider the age old issue of nature vs. nurture. But food, laden with history and culture, the legendary path to the heart, is the medium. Mix in a very needy cast of characters and the recipe for a good tale is perfected."
—Jewish Book World
"A delectable tale of the families we choose...indeed, we root for all of Soffers rich and complex characters."
"A profound and necessary new voice. Soffer's prose is as controlled as it is fresh, as incisive as it is musical. Soffer has arrived early, with an orchestra of talent at her disposal."
"Lit by prose of startling beauty and originality, Jessica Soffers novel of loss, love, food, and finding family is insightful and, as the story unfolds, increasingly moving. This is that rare debut with the capacity to genuinely satisfy the broadest swath of readers—from foodies to poets, mothers to daughters, solitary souls to friends debating subjects close to their hearts. She is a writer to watch; this is a story that matures and expands with each page."
—Nicole Mones, author of The Last Chinese Chef
"This lovely book is the story of lost souls hanging on to each other for dear life, then finding hope and healing. An emotional page-turner with characters who touched my heart and soon felt like old friends, it commandeered my time until the sweet and satisfying ending. Hard to believe such a wise book is a first novel. Heres hoping there's much more to come from this wonderful writer."
—Bo Caldwell, author of The Distant Land of My Father and City of Tranquil Light
"This beautiful, beautiful book calls to mind The Elegance of the Hedgehog, for its artistry and heart, and for its two unlikely soul mates—one old, one young, both harboring private grief, shaping their lives around what is missing, looking for families fate has denied them. A gifted storyteller, Soffer writes with a rare combination of fearlessness and compassion; she has a sage's ability to find absurdity and humor in sorrow. Her characters, as familiar as our own imperfect faces in the mirror, remind us to forgive ourselves our foibles: after all, hope—and the need for human connection—makes fools of us all. I dare anyone to barricade their heart against this enchanting novel."
—Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken for You and Sing Them Home
"I devoured this mouth-watering story of self-discovery, one as deep-rooted as an ancient fruit tree perpetually blossoming anew. With prose sharp as a paring knife, Soffer shows us that love transcends cultural boundaries, age, old wounds and new seasons. So, too, does this novel. A savory debut!"
—Sarah McCoy, author of The Baker's Daughter
"Jessica Soffer's gorgeous and word-wise novel shows us how a single sentence can contain wonders, and a kitchen can contain epics; this is a fantastic debut."
—Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances
"Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is elegant, sensual, surprising and rich. Jessica Soffer delivers a world to us, populated with indelible characters whose fates, as they become entwined, spur us to read fast, faster, except to do so would be to miss the beauty of Soffer's language, which is to be savored. This is a superb debut."
Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I., becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy after a fateful morning on their Chicago rooftop.
Forced to move to a new city, with her strict African-American grandmother as her guardian, Rachel is thrust for the first time into a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring a constant stream of attention her way. It's there, as she grows up and tries to swallow her grief, that she comes to understand how the mystery and tragedy of her mother might be connected to her own uncertain identity.
This searing and heartwrenching portrait of a young biracial girl dealing with society's ideas of race and class is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.
From a debut author already praised by Colum McCann as a "profound and necessary new voice" comes a novel about two women adrift in New York—an Iraqi Jewish widow and the latchkey daughter of a chef—who find each other and a new kind of family through their shared love of cooking.
A fiercely assured debut novel about four second-generation Chinese sisters, one of whom happens to be a boy
Long-listed for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize
A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Spring 2014 selection
A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice
“Peter is a fully realized, fully unique character — one who will find his way into the hearts of readers everywhere.” — Bustle
“[A] sensitively wrought debut.” — New York Times Book Review
At birth, Peter Huang is given the Chinese name Juan Chaun, “powerful king.” To his parents, new to small-town Ontario, he is the exalted only son in a sea of daughters, the one who will finally fulfill his immigrant father’s dreams of Western masculinity.
Peter and his sisters grow up in an airless house of order and obligation, though secrets and half-truths simmer beneath the surface. At the first opportunity, each of the girls lights out on her own. But for Peter, escape is not as simple as fleeing his parents’ home. Though his father crowned him “powerful king,” Peter knows otherwise. He knows he is really a girl.
Darkly funny, emotionally acute, stunningly powerful, Kim Fu’s debut novel is a “coming of age tale for our time” (Seattle Times) that lays bare the costs of forsaking one's own path, a “heartbreaking” (Cosmopolitan) examination of how we find our true selves.
About the Author
A graduate of Stanford University, Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, and Yale Law School, Heidi W. Durrow has received grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the Lois Roth Endowment and a Fellowship for Emerging Writers from the Jerome Foundation. Her writing has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, the Literary Review, and others.