Heir To The Glimmering World by Cynthia Ozick - Book Review

Rose, a smart young woman with little hope of opportunity, finds employment with a family of well-educated Jewish Germans, the Mittwissers, who have traveled to New York evading Nazi persecution. Mr. Mittwisser is harsh and obstinate, finding no scholarly interest for his research. The only time Mr. Mittwisser yields is in the presence of the tremendously famous children's book heir, James A'Bair, who intermittently showers the family with trivial gifts and funding for Mr. Mittwisser's research. Mrs. Mittwisser has been driven to madness by the family's plight. Once a prominent German physicist and colleague of the famous German physicist Erwin Schrödinger, Mrs. Mittwisser believes she's entitled to his Nobel Prize. The Mittwisser children are arrogant and unruly despite the fact that they have nothing. James A' Bair never seems able to rise above his inheritance & unwanted fame. Rose, only needing a little money to begin her young life, keeps getting sidetracked by disparity and happenstance.

Heir to the Glimmering World's tone is complementary, though not effusive. It highlights the way one gets drawn into circumstances and the attempt to move past those circumstances, how different souls deal with the lot they are given. It's mainly a character driven story, though the plot is sound. The real gem is the writer. Her deft character development makes one actually care what happens to these unnerving people. I can't say that I ever liked them, but I did want to know what happened to them.

I'd recommend this book for those who enjoy historical fiction or well written models of character development.

© 2007-2009

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