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The world of richly drawn characters in How to Make a Life transported me on a compelling emotional journey. In a story that brings the 20th Century to life, the powerful need to assimilate threatens the very bonds that ground an immigrant family with a sense of identity as four generations adapt to a culture that reinvents itself with every decade.
Stephanie Lehmann, author, Astor Place Vintage.
A moving novel of four generations of an immigrant family whose characters are so real I cannot forget them.
Tessa Smith McGovern, author, London Road Linked Stories and host/producer of BookGirl TV.
Florence Kraut has written a sensitive and compelling multigenerational novel that begins with tragedy and ends with hope. Each chapter traces a family member who erases the scars of history’s indelible mark with courage, determination, faith and love. A wonderful read.
Marsha Temlock, Author, The Exile and Your Child’s Divorce: What to Expect; What You Can Do
How to Make a Life is a compelling and inspirational novel. It applauds perseverance, connection and compassion over trauma, separation and change. Details have a way of creating potency, and the beautiful descriptions in Ms. Kraut's novel brings every character alive. Her images and painterly descriptions inspired me to write about my own family. When stories inspire readers' creativity, you are in the hands of a empathic and evocative writer. I could not put this book down.
June Gould, PhD, author, The Writer in All of us, IWWG Writing Workshop Leader, consultant and Master writing teacher.
Florence Reiss Kraut’s rich, gutsy and poignant novel, How to Make a Life, is the saga of four generations of an immigrant family who begin by escaping the pogroms in Eastern Europe for a life in New York, and are then held together by the legacy of that trauma and the loyalties, ambitions, and explorations of succeeding generations. All the challenges of any real family are woven through this complex story; betrayals, mistakes, secrets, accidents, illnesses, good luck and bad. Kraut’s focus on different characters in dedicated chapters mimics for the reader the reality of how we learn about family relationships ; there are things we know about each other, and things we don’t find out until much later.. Kraut’s superb writing and deeply drawn characters, and her faithful evocation of distinct places and eras over the whole of the 20th century keep the reader grounded and engaged. Anyone who comes from a large close family will recognize the intricacy of the connections among these wonderfully varied and sometimes flawed people. Anyone who is not from such a family will be the wiser for having entered Kraut’s rendering of How to Make a Life.
Barbara Stark-Nemon, author of the award winning novels Hard Cider and Even in Darkness.
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