Shadows We Carry
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About the Author
A SheReads.com Best Book Club Picks of Spring 2023
Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels of 2023
--Hasty Book List
"In this well-researched, char-ac-ter-dri-ven sto-ry, Ain exam-ines many themes and issues with insight and com-pas-sion. She folds top-ics such as fem-i-nism, anti-semitism, gay rights, abor-tion, and sec-ond-gen-er-a-tion Holo-caust sur-vivor con-cerns into the char-ac-ters' lives. Because Ain thought-ful-ly inter-weaves numer-ous his-tor-i-cal events, sig-nif-i-cant nos-tal-gic details, and cul-tur-al and geo-graph-ic ref-er-ences, the char-ac-ters' sto-ries will res-onate deeply with those who expe-ri-enced the era."
--Renita Last, Jewish Book Council
"Shadows We Carry by Meryl Ain is an important new book. It is not necessary to read her debut novel, The Takeaway Men, to understand this sequel, whose merits stand on their own. Its themes include: immigration, assimilation, questions of identity, how we define ourselves, and whether Holocaust survivors' families have a responsibility to track down Nazi perpetrators. I was deeply affected by the novel's characters and events. The issues raised are as valid today as they were 50 years ago. Book clubs, congregations, and other groups must read and discuss this work. Bring plenty of tissues with you."
--Linda Ettinger Lieberman, Blogger, The Times of Israel
"When I finished Shadows We Carry by Meryl Ain, I cried. Reading this book was akin to going home . . . . To say it is moving is an understatement. For many readers, the tale of twin sisters Bronka and JoJo will be an eye-opener to Jewish life in a New York gone by. Bravo."
--Marilyn Simon Rothstein, author of Crazy To Leave You, Husbands and Other Sharp Objects, and Lift and Separate
--Susan Isaacs, New York Times best-selling author "Enlightening and evocative, Shadows We Carry explores the experience of navigating deeply held family secrets and bloodlines, confusing religious identities, and the scars of World War II in the wake of revolutionary societal change."
--Hasty Book List, Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels of 2023
"Meryl Ain's sequel to The Takeaway Men is a novel that I couldn't put down . . . . the story brings to life the turmoil of the era--the Vietnam War and the demonstrations against it, the marches for women's equality and the fight for pro-choice . . . One of the most successful elements is how Ain has incorporated events of the day, as well as the history of earlier times, to the fabric of her story. This adds weight to her novel, grounds it in such a way that also lends authenticity and realism to each of her characters."
--Jacquie Herz, author of Circumference of Silence
"The many topics of this book--religion, denominational differences, assimilation, local, national, and world politics, marital fidelity, gay visibility, and rights, hiding Nazis--are masterfully weaved into a coherent whole; in and out of the story of a person, a family, and generation...."
--Por Gabor, Jewish Book World"Ain once again displays her deft gift for presenting the intersection of historical events and cultural awareness...Its quick, taut chapters reflect a peripatetic and energetic pacing of the latter part of the 20th century, a book of identity, it asks the twin questions, Can you ever escape history? Can you ever escape your history?"
--Jeffrey Sanzel, Times Beacon Record Praise for The Takeaway Men: 2020 Best Book Awards Winner in Fiction: Historical
2020 American Fiction Awards: Winner in Historical Fiction
2020 Canadian Book Club Awards Winner in Fiction
"17 Books to Read Before the End of Summer"--Buzzfeed "The author's tale is sensitively composed, a thoughtful exploration into the perennially thorny issues of religious identity, assimilation, and the legacy of suffering."
--Kirkus Reviews "Ain builds a layered world of many different characters to create a complex, difficult, and well-researched novel around the identity of the Jewish community following the Holocaust and the problems and debates it faced."
--Booklist "A wise and sensitive work of historical fiction...ties in many themes: stories of Righteous Gentiles, a suspected Nazi living in the neighborhood under a new identity and working in a kosher deli, the stigma then of mental illness, questions of defining Jewish identity and reacting to evil, and the popular culture of the '50s."
--The Jewish Week "All too often, books focus on what happens to people persecuted by the Nazis during the war, but I rarely find a novel that tells the story of what happens to a family after liberation . . . I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction..."
--Readers' Favorite, 5 Star Review "At a time when the darkness of the Holocaust is being whitewashed, Meryl Ain's remarkable debut novel illuminates the postwar Jewish American landscape like a truth-seeking torch. An emotionally rich and lovingly told saga of survivors, with great sensitivity to what was lost, buried, and resurrected."
--Thane Rosenbaum, author of The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and Elijah Visible "In The Takeaway Men, Meryl Ain tells a gripping story of lives intertwined and shaped by the horrors of the Holocaust and its aftermath. With sensitivity and compassion she makes her characters come alive and remain in our heads and our hearts long after the novel ends. A powerful read!"
--Francine Klagsbrun, author of Lioness: Golda Meir and the Nation of Israel "An exceptional and vibrant first novel . . . a portrait of the power of love and the ability of family to embrace and heal."
--TBR News Media