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- DescriptionBill Broder's A Prayer for the Departed: Tales of a Family through the Decades of the Last Century (ISBN 1461138930) hors the elders of his family through a series of complete and connected short stories. As the youngest son, he acts as witness to the lives of his parents, his uncles, and his aunts-lives steeped in the rich mix of a secular America and Jewish belief and ritual. The drama of the book involves the author's life-long dialogue, often an argument, with his mother about the differences in their lives and opinions. From her he learns about her early years and those of his father and how those experiences shaped their lives and the lives of their siblings. His grandmother's Old World preference for her sons profoundly affected his mother and his aunt, robbing them of the self-confidence their talents merited. His father's early death leaves Broder to deal with his mother's hysteria when his older brother marries out of the faith. From story to story, he interacts with his uncles and aunts at moments of crisis. A dead uncle reaches out with a posthumous gesture of affection by entrusting the author with a legacy for delivery to a nurse with whom his uncle fell in love years before on the World War II battlefields of Italy. The book finishes when the author returns as a middle-aged man to express his love and appreciation for his mother at her life's end. Broder writes in the tradition of the Jewish prayer for the dead, the Kaddish, a celebration of the lives of those who have died and a demonstration of gratitude for all life. His book aims to remind readers of the values, love and conflicts of a 20th century Jewish-American family. The failure of memory, Broder says, puts the future in peril. Broder intends his book, A Prayer for the Departed, to be for readers of all ages who appreciate the importance of the past, family lore, and dramatic presentation of characters through their domestic struggles. Kirkus Indie Review; Novelist and playwright Broder (Taking Care of Cleo, 2006, etc.) presents a series of vignettes about his family. Broder begins by delving into his parents' life stories, tracing the contours and examining particular moments ( All histories are selective, Broder says in the foreword). The book is organized by decades and shares meaningful moments, beginning in the early 20th century before Broder's birth (which sets the stage) and carrying through to the '80s. . . . Intriguingly, the author doesn't simply superficially serve a scramble of stories. Instead, he utilizes these portraits to demonstrate the effects of his parents' behavior on his personality and growth. For instance, upon Broder's discovery of an old paper of his father's that succinctly detailed his father's goals and aspirations, the father comes to represent moral standards. Broder's careful, eloquent meditations upon family life transform this account from a mere history or memoir to a celebration of, and tribute to, family life. What a curious idea, Broder says when examining the idea that his family had shared a life. This curiosity propels the book and lends an authenticity and engaging quality to the author's musings. Though his subject matter may seem extremely limited and personal, his elegiac, sincere storytelling keeps readers hooked and appreciative of a time that once was. The book's glance at history as a moving force and its examination of each decade allow readers to realize and experience history and the past. Broder t only shares his life and journey with readers, but allows them to touch and feel it. A tender, inquisitive book that will appeal to those from old and new worlds.
- Author BiographyBill Broder grew up in Detroit and graduated from Columbia College; he served in the Navy and attended Stanford University's writer's workshop. He has published three works of fiction: The Sacred Hoop, Remember This Time with his wife Gloria Kurian-Broder, and Taking Care of Cleo, which was chosen as a Michigan Notable Book by Michigan's Library Foundation. Broder has also completed a number of full-length plays, one of which, Abalone! was produced in Carmel, California. Two of his plays were presented at the California Studies Conference in Sacramento as vivid examples of California history. Broder has worked as a freelance writer, specializing in the design and production of educational materials for museums, schools, exhibitions and publishing companies. He lives on the California coast with his wife of many years and hikes early every morning on the headlands with coyote, rabbits, deer, skunks, quail, bobcats, shore birds, ravens, finches, and river otter.
- Author(s)Bill Broder
- PublisherCreatespace Independent Publishing Platform
- Date of Publication15/08/2011
- FormatPaperback / softback
- SubjectBiography: General
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintCreatespace Independent Publishing Platform
- Content Noteblack & white illustrations
- Weight381 g
- Width152 mm
- Height229 mm
- Spine15 mm
- Format DetailsTrade paperback (US),Unsewn / adhesive bound
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