A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Fiction Book of the Year
Synopses & Reviews
A stirring portrait exploring the intersections of three generations of an Othodox Jewish family.
David Birnbaum is a middle-aged man at the crossroads of youth and old age, of Othodox Judaism and assimilation, of the well-worn past and an uncertain future. He is also at the dramatic center of this sensative, often funny chronicle of three generations of a family straining to hold together in the face of changing cultures and shifting fortunes.
Throughout this extraordinary book, David struggles with the mixed loyalties he has felt since childhood and that continue to haunt his present and future. Capturing the hopes and conflicts of a Jewish family, from its most assimilated to its most Orthodox members, Like Never Before exudes on every page a poignancy and truthfulness that will print themselves indelibly on readers' minds.
"Quietly powerful...Havazelet writes with a kind of anatomical precision, his scalpel slicing at his characters to expose the dark reality beneath." Richard Bernstein, The New York Times
"Ehud Havazelet's delicate and lyrical voice is beguiling and consistent...A collection full of finely chiseled edges, painful division, and halting, hard-won renewals." The Boston Globe
"Splendid...Havazelet writes with elegance and authority, bearing down on moments of crisis with virtuoso intensity....Extraordinary." Chicago Tribune
"The ten interrelated stories of Like Never Before move inexorably toward a sadness that cracks the heart, and a hard-won reconciliation that affirms the human spirit." The Washington Post Book World
"The writing soars." The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Ehud Havazelet is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of stories What Is It Then between Us? He teaches at Oregon State University and the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program for Writers, and lives in Corvallis, Oregon.