Away: A Novel by Amy Bloom - Book Review

I recently read a novel that I’d been excitedly anticipating. The premise was cool. The characters highly intriguing. Reviewers LOVED it. However, 100 of the 500 pages in, I realized the actual execution was dauntingly flawed.

Away was not a title that I would have eagerly sought. I’d recently been reading tons on this historical topic. Reading about a woman trekking across the Alaskan wilderness or 1920’s New York wouldn’t have piqued my interest either.

Two biblio-mistakes in one week.

Away reminds that great writing is great reading. Bloom’s restrained writing style manages to convey ambitious themes of great loss and sorrow with eloquence. Her nonchalant manner of describing the most horrendous of human sufferings allows readers to move forward without feeling steamrolled. And though the characters are a wounded hodge-podge of the damaged, you like them. You want them to persevere, to find happiness or at least escape from their pains.

The cover quotes another subtle and gifted writer, Michael Cunningham, in saying that Amy Bloom, “…loves the world too much to sentimentalize it.” I couldn’t have said it any better. Honest, insightful, understatedly breathtaking, and believably executed, Away is a worthwhile trek across the globe of human despair and deliverance.

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