9781902881539 / 1902881532

Chains Around the Grass


3.39 avg rating242 ratings by GoodReads

Publisher:Toby Press, 2001



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About the book:

Set in the 1950's in New York City, CHAINS AROUND THE GRASS is a portrait of a Jewish-American family that glows with affection, tenderness, and courage when tragedy changes the lives of all who are left behind. A passionately personal and heartfelt book, based heavily on autobiographical material, this is the book Ms. Ragen says that she became an author to write.

Sara is barely six years old when her beloved father unexpectedly vanishes from her life. Her mother, Ruth, a dreamy and reluctant housewife, is now left with three small children to bring up, and the knowledge that she will somehow have to pick up the pieces, if she is to survive and fend for the family. But Sara takes up a vigil at the window of their dismal apartment, refusing to accept that her father won't be coming back.

"She thought of herself as a lighthouse keeper, a watchman on guard, a sailor on the topmost rigging, scouting for land. It was her duty to be there when the magic moment happened as it surely must, for no other explanation made any sense.

She scouted the men passing by, searching for those of a certain height, a certain weight, a certain walk... She followed each with hope until he turned right instead of left or left instead of right, or drew close enough to prove too tall or too short, too thin or two heavy. And each disappointment chipped away at her hope, reducing it, but never actually killing it. Like a plant cut to the ground, the roots sent up foolish new growth that twined around the facts, embellishing them, giving them something akin to beauty."

To this bittersweet and moving tale of childhood and the loss of innocence, the author brings the added intensity of a personal memoir. This is Naomi Ragen at her best, her writing charged with a searing, emotional truth as she unravels a tale of childhood, betrayal and the unending resilience of family love.

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