BEING ESTHER
A Novel

By Miriam Karmel
Milkweed EditionsDecember 2013
milkweed.org/

Trade Paperback208 pages, $15.00, ISBN: 9781571311054
Subject: Renewal / Women's Lives / Personal Challenges

Born to parents who fled the shtetl, Esther Lustig has led a seemingly conventional life—marriage, two children, a life in suburban Chicago. Now, at the age of eighty-five, her husband is deceased, her children have families of their own, and most of her friends are gone. Even in this diminished condition, life has its moments of richness, as well as its memorable characters. But above all there are the memories. Of better days with Marty, her husband. Of unrealized obsessions with other men.

As she moves back and forth through time, Esther attempts to come to terms with the meaning of her outwardly modest life. As a young woman, she wondered about the world beyond the narrow, prescribed world she inhabited. Now, cruelly, she can’t help but wonder if she has done anything for which she will be remembered.

At once sad and amusing, unpretentious yet wonderfully ambitious, Miriam Karmel’s debut novel brings understanding and tremendous empathy to the unforgettable Esther Lustig.

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