Washing the Dead

Michelle Brafman (Author)
Available

Description

"Intimate, big-hearted, compassionate and clear-eyed, Brafman's novel turns secrets into truths and the truth into the heart of fiction." --AMY BLOOM, author of Lucky Us and Away

"From roots in one religious tradition, comes a tale of emotional redemption for all of us. Michelle Brafman's astonishing compassion for all human frailty infuses this story about the need for truth and the promise of forgiveness." --HELEN SIMONSON, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

"Heartfelt and genuine, Washing the Dead never betrays the complicated truths of family and tradition."
-- DAVID BEZMOZGIS, author of Natasha and Other Stories and The Betrayers

"Like a Jewish Anne Lamott, Brafman reels you in with warmth, depth and heart." --SUSAN COLL, author of The Stager and Acceptance

Three generations of women confront family secrets in this exquisitely wrought debut novel that examines the experience of religious community, the perilous emotional path to adulthood, and the power of sacred rituals to repair damaged bonds between mothers and daughters.

Product Details

Price
$16.00  $14.72
Publisher
Prospect Park Books
Publish Date
April 28, 2015
Pages
344
Dimensions
5.3 X 0.9 X 8.2 inches | 0.85 pounds
Language
English
Type
Paperback
EAN/UPC
9781938849510
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Michelle Brafman grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and now lives in Glen Echo, Maryland with her husband and two children. She is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego and Johns Hopkins University, where she now teaches fiction writing. Her award-winning short stories and essays have appeared in the Washington Post, Slate, Tablet, Lilith Magazine, Bethesda Magazine, Superstition Review, Potomac Review, minnesota review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Gargoyle and elsewhere. A regular contributor to the Lilith Magazine blog, she has led its salon discussions at theaters and arts centers throughout the Washington, DC area. Brafman is also a former documentary filmmaker whose film American Lives: Jewish Stories, like her debut novel Washing the Dead, illuminates seldom told stories of the Jewish experience.

Reviews

Jewish Book Council "Spring 2015 Jewish Book Preview" featured title

"A fast-paced and compelling debut." -- LIBRARY JOURNAL

"A heartfelt story of loss, hope, and reconciliation." -- BOOKLIST

"Brafman's tale of three generations of women shows that woundedness--damage to mind and soul--can travel down the generations, and that so can kindness, courage and, ultimately, self-healing. . . . [Washing the Dead] succeeds in showing how family history has a way of sneaking up on us from the depths of the past, shaping the present in ways both familiar and unexpected." --Haaretz

" . . . (a) beautifully wrought novel, one in which Brafman examines the inner lives of her characters with the dexterity of a surgeon and the compassion of a saint." --LILITH MAGAZINE

"Striking debut novel . . . poignant." --THE JEWISH NEWS WEEKLY

"Compelling." --THE NEW YORK JEWISH WEEK

A Washingtonian magazine "Book Washingtonians Should Be Reading"

"Preparing the dead for traditional Jewish burial is considered the holiest and most sacred mitzvah that a Jew may perform because there is no way for the dead to repay the act of goodness. . . . In performing this mitzvah [in Washing the Dead], the protagonist cleanses herself of hatreds and misunderstandings that she has been carrying around since her youth."
--Jewish Book Council

"Deeply moving. . . . We are eased into an Orthodox Jewish community and a family burdened by secrets as gently as if an old friend were guiding us every step of the way. . . . Washing the Dead is a profoundly hopeful book. I can think of few others that honor ordinary women as simply and as clearly as this one does. Read it to feel how much is possible in the world all around us."
--Best New Fiction

"Brafman...puts her mother-and-daughter characters through the fire. Yet on the other side, each comes out refined, understanding that the legacy of one's family requires understanding and true forgiveness, which may be the greatest mitzvah of all."
--New Pages

"Intimate, big-hearted, compassionate and clear-eyed, Brafman's novel turns secrets into truths and the truth into the heart of fiction." --AMY BLOOM, author of Lucky Us and Away

"Heartfelt and genuine, Brafman's Washing the Dead never betrays the complicated truths of family and tradition." --DAVID BEZMOZGIS, author of The Betrayers and Natasha: and Other Stories

"From roots in one religious tradition, comes a tale of emotional redemption for all of us. Brafman's astonishing compassion for all human frailty infuses this story about the need for truth and the promise of forgiveness." --HELEN SIMONSON, author of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

"Sensual and spiritual, shot with betrayals, Washing the Dead plumbs the destructive power of secrets across three generations of mothers and daughters. In haunting prose, Brafman offers a riveting glimpse into Orthodox and Chasidic life, and breathtaking insight into what it means to forgive." --DYLAN LANDIS, author of Rainey Royal and Normal People Don't Live Like This

"A rich tale of love, friendship, yearning, and forgiveness. Brafman's beautifully wrought prose quickly cuts to the heart of things: how to live, how to love, and how to care for the dead." --JESSICA ANYA BLAU, author of The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and The Wonder Bread Summer

"Like a Jewish Anne Lamott, Brafman reels you in with warmth, depth and heart. Infused with lush detail about Orthodox Jewish life in the Midwest... Brafman has written a charming and original spiritual page-turner about love, forgiveness, and family life." --SUSAN COLL, author of The Stager and Acceptance

"Throughout these pages, moving in shadow, runs the terrific responsibility of forgiveness and redemption. . . . Michelle Brafman has done us all a true mitzvah by writing this beautiful book." --ROBERT BAUSCH, author of Far as the Eye Can See and A Hole in the Earth

"What a spectacular debut." --T. GREENWOOD, author of The Forever Bridge and Bodies of Water

"Brafman offers a fresh, vital narrative about guilt, love, loss, and the necessity of wrestling with the dark angel of a painful family legacy until it blesses you. June Pupnick, one of the most bewitching and problematic fictional mothers I've come across in years, makes a regular habit of escaping her life by 'gobbling up' novels 'without chewing.' Please resist gobbling this novel. Slow down, savor the richness and generosity of Brafman's storytelling, and then buy a copy for your most deserving friend." --MARGARET MEYERS, author of Dislocation and Swimming in the Congo

"With the knife blade of her prose honed razor sharp, Brafman skillfully dissects the bonds of mother-daughter relationships.... She weaves together the sacred and the profane, reverberating silences, exile and return, atonement and forgiveness with the tenderness of a mother braiding the hair of a beloved daughter." --FAYE MOSKOWITZ, author of Her Face in the Mirror and A Leak in the Heart

"An illuminating and intricately layered novel about the complicated legacies that pass from mother to daughter, and about the ways that understanding our own history helps make us who we are. Brafman is an insightful writer who never falters or flinches in her quest to uncover the hearts of her characters." --CAROLYN PARKHURST, author of The Nobodies Album and The Dogs of Babel

"A riveting and humane account of family pain passed from one generation to the next.... How do we begin to forgive those who injured us? Start by reading Brafman's unflinching and inspiring novel." --MARY KAY ZURAVLEFF, author of Man Alive!, The Bowl Is Already Broken, and The Frequency of Souls