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Book Title: Hester Among the Ruins|
The author of the book: Binnie Kirshenbaum
ISBN 13: 9780393339345
Edition: W. W. Norton Company
Date of issue: February 17th 2002
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 639 KB
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Reader ratings: 6.8
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Born in New York in 1963, historian Hester Rosenfeld—very American and marginally Jewish—goes to Munich to research the life of Heinrich Falk and becomes his mistress. Born in Berlin in 1943, raised in the ruins of defeat by a generation of "murderers and cowards," Professor Falk is neither infamous nor famous—he is simply the German Everyman. Hester believes his life story could make for an important contemporary historical document—kitchen table history. Heinrich is married (four times, twice to his current wife) and has four daughters. But madly in love with Hester, adultery is nothing new to him. As he assists her in her note-taking—about him and his family, about German history—she often suspects Heinrich is covering up something. Was his brother really a Werewolf, a Nazi militiaman who vowed to continue fighting after the war's end? What kind of gas company did his mother work for? And what exactly did his father do during those years?
Yet Hester has her secrets, too, and the longer she remains in Germany the harder it is to keep them concealed. As she uncovers more of the Falk family's possible connection to Nazism, she finds herself reexamining her feelings about her own parents and her complicated attraction to Heinrich. As the lovers' intimacy deepens beyond the erotic, each suspects the other of hiding something about the past.
Called a "rare and remarkable writer" by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham, Kirshenbaum has written a searing novel about history's unforgettable legacy and its continuing impact.
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Read information about the authorBinnie Kirshenbaum is the author of two short story collections, six novels, and numerous essays and reviews. Her work is noted for its humorous and ribald prose, which often disguises themes of human loneliness and the yearning for connection. Her heroines are usually urban, very smart, and chastened by lifetimes of unwelcome surprises. Kirshenbaum has been published in German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, and several other languages.
Kirshenbaum grew up in New York and attended Columbia University and Brooklyn College. She is the chair of the Writing Division of the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts, where she has served as a professor of fiction for more than a decade.
Called, “a humorist, even a comedian, a sort of stand-up tragic,” by Richard Howard, Kirshenbaum has twice won Critics’ Choice Awards and was selected as one of the Best Young American Novelists by Granta Magazine. Kirshenbaum was also a nominee for The National Jewish Book Award for her novel Hester Among the Ruins. Her new novel, The Scenic Route, was published in May, 2009. Of the novel, Gary Steyngart says, “The Scenic Route is warm, wise, and very difficult to put down."
Binnie Kirshenbaum lives and works in New York City.
Binnie Kirshenbaum was born in Yonkers and grew up in Westchester County. After attending Columbia University as an undergraduate, Kirshenbaum earned her MFA at Brooklyn College. She taught at Wagner College before joining the faculty at the Writing Division of Columbia University's School of the Arts.
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