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Book Title: An Almost Perfect Moment|
The author of the book: Binnie Kirshenbaum
The size of the: 632 KB
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Loaded: 1566 times
Reader ratings: 4.8
Date of issue: February 3rd 2004
ISBN 13: 9780060520861
Format files: PDF
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On the cusp of the great age of disco, and in a part of Brooklyn a million miles away from Manhattan, livesfifteen-year-old Valentine Kessler and her long-suffering mother, Miriam.
Valentine -- Jewish, pretty, and a touch flaky -- is an unremarkable teenager except for two things: she is a dead ringer for the Virgin Mary as she appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes, and her very being, through some inexplicable conspiracy of fate, seems to shatter the dreams and hopes of people around her.
John Wosileski, Valentine's lonely math teacher who adores her from afar, embraces the martyrdom wrought by his unconditional and unrequited love. Joanne Clarke, the bitter and sad biology teacher who schemes to be John's wife, reviles Valentine to eventual self-destruction. Valentine's best friend, a former figure-skating champion, humiliates her for the crime of being "different."
But Miriam Kessler -- betrayed and anguished by the husband she once worshipped -- —loves Valentine only the way a mother could -- deeply, yet without knowing. Transposing one sensual appetite for another, Miriam eats and eats and seeks solace in a daily game of mah-jongg with her three girlfriends. The Girls, a cross between a Greek Chorus and a Brooklyn rendition of the Three Wise Men, dispense advice, predictions, and care in the form of extravagant gifts and homemade strudels. When Miriam's greatest fear for Valentine is realized, she takes comfort in the thought that it couldn't get any worse. But then something even stranger happens, and Valentine's mysterious presence becomes an even more mysterious absence.
Written in a naturalistic voice that echoes that of the characters, An Almost Perfect Moment is a dark and sharply comic novel about star-crossed lovers, mothers and daughters, doctrines of the divine, and a colorful Jewish community that once defined Brooklyn. Sagacious, sorrowful, and hilarious, it raises questions of faith and plays with the possibility of miracles with one eye on the caution: Be careful what you wish for.
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Read information about the authorBinnie Kirshenbaum is the author of two short story collections, six novels, and numerous essays and reviews. Her work is noted for its humorous and ribald prose, which often disguises themes of human loneliness and the yearning for connection. Her heroines are usually urban, very smart, and chastened by lifetimes of unwelcome surprises. Kirshenbaum has been published in German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, and several other languages.
Kirshenbaum grew up in New York and attended Columbia University and Brooklyn College. She is the chair of the Writing Division of the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts, where she has served as a professor of fiction for more than a decade.
Called, “a humorist, even a comedian, a sort of stand-up tragic,” by Richard Howard, Kirshenbaum has twice won Critics’ Choice Awards and was selected as one of the Best Young American Novelists by Granta Magazine. Kirshenbaum was also a nominee for The National Jewish Book Award for her novel Hester Among the Ruins. Her new novel, The Scenic Route, was published in May, 2009. Of the novel, Gary Steyngart says, “The Scenic Route is warm, wise, and very difficult to put down."
Binnie Kirshenbaum lives and works in New York City.
Binnie Kirshenbaum was born in Yonkers and grew up in Westchester County. After attending Columbia University as an undergraduate, Kirshenbaum earned her MFA at Brooklyn College. She taught at Wagner College before joining the faculty at the Writing Division of Columbia University's School of the Arts.
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