Carole L. Glickfeld
Knopf, Feb 2001, 24.00, 388 pp.
In 1953 Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, Russian-Jew Chenia Arnow agrees with her husband Ruben's pronouncement that they cannot afford a third child. Chenia tells the doctor no baby, as she knows they cannot afford a third child plus she is closing in on fifty. Though the doctor gives her a shot to cause a miscarriage, Chenia gives birth to Devorah.
Ruben decides to relocate the family by moving to Manhattan nearer to his lover Trudy. Chenia feels guilt for her own liaison with Harry and his “Magic Shoes”. So a family begins to extend while the parents provide illicit lessons to the next generation on faithfulness, caring, and love.
SWIMMING TOWARDS THE OCEAN is a powerful look at a New York City Jewish family in the 1950s. The story line provides incredible insight into the era that it documents. The key players, Chenia and Ruben come to life through their reactions to her two affairs and his three affairs as seen through the eyes of Devorah, who narrates the story. In this realistic look back in time, Devorah's insightful knowledge of family matters that she would at best know few facts could destroy the feel of the plot, but instead opens the story line even wider. Whether the specifically of the events is true or not, Devorah the narrator believes them to be so and perhaps subconsciously filed in the gaps. Carole L. Glickfeld has written a superb tale that the boomers and probably their children will want to read.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner