by Jordana Horn

Swept Along, And Away

From courtesan to Alaskan pioneer

Amy Bloom’s newest novel, Away (Random House, $23.95), seems to want grandiose, Dr. Zhivago-like background music. The story’s heroine, Lillian Leyb, sees her parents and husband slaughtered by Cossacks. She sends her two-year-old daughter, Sophie, to hide in the yard, and then cannot find her. Lillian flees Russia and its horrors for the Goldena Medina, America in the early twentieth century. In New York, lost in the language and lost in love, she enters into a pair of twisted relationships with a star actor in the Yiddish theater and with his father, a theatrical impresario. These situations alone might have been enough to fuel a novel, but then cousin Raisele comes from Russia with the news that Sophie is alive and has been taken to Siberia by a couple from the village.

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