Set in the 1920s, Away by Amy Bloom is the story of Lillian, a young Russian woman who immigrates to America after her family is murdered. Once she has settled into her new life in New York, Lillian hears that her daughter, Sophie, may actually be alive. Determined to find her daughter no matter the risk, Lillian travels across America in hopes of finding Sophie in Siberia.
*This review may contain spoilers*
This is a beautifully written book. It’s a powerful, engaging story and I couldn’t put it down. None of the characters were one-dimensional, even the minor characters that Lillian met on her travels were fully-realized. They were all flawed but still relatable, and I found myself liking and understanding all of them, even when they made unlikable choices. I was sad to see Lillian leave people behind, but Bloom gave a nice sense of closure for all of them by writing a few pages about their lives after Lillian. Even when characters didn’t get a happy ending, I was still content with how the story played out. Lillian was a strong character and I understood why so many people she met liked her, even though she was far from perfect. The ending is not what I expected, but it was still very satisfying. This book was epic, rich, and heartbreaking in a good way. The story could have easily been vulgar, boring, or predictable, but in Bloom’s capable hands it is mesmerizing. I can’t wait to read her other novels.
5 out of 5.
I received a copy of Away by Amy Bloom through Goodreads First Reads program.