Bill Broder's "A Prayer for the Departed: Tales of a Family through the Decades of the Last Century" (ISBN 1461138930) honors the elders of his family through a series of complete and connected short stories. As the youngest son, he acts as witness to the lives of his parents, his uncles, and his aunts--lives steeped in the rich mix of a secular America and Jewish belief and ritual. The drama of the book involves the author's life-long dialogue, often an argument, with his mother about the differences in their lives and opinions. From her he learns about her early years and those of his father and how those experiences shaped their lives and the lives of their siblings. His grandmother's Old World preference for her sons profoundly affected his mother and his aunt, robbing them of the self-confidence their talents merited. His father's early death leaves Broder to deal with his mother's hysteria when his older brother marries out of the faith. From story to story, he interacts with his uncles and aunts at moments of crisis. A dead uncle reaches out with a posthumous gesture of affection by entrusting the author with a legacy for delivery to a nurse with whom his uncle fell in love years before on the World War II battlefields of Italy. The book finishes when the author returns as a middle-aged man to express his love and appreciation for his mother at her life's end. Broder writes in the tradition of the Jewish prayer for the dead, the Kaddish, a celebration of the lives of those who have died and a demonstration of gratitude for all life. His book aims to remind readers of the values, love and conflicts of a 20th century Jewish-American family. "The failure of memory," Broder says, "puts the future in peril." Broder intends his book, "A Prayer for the Departed," to be for readers of all ages who appreciate the importance of the past, family lore, and dramatic presentation of characters through their domestic struggles.
About Bill Broder
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Published August 15, 2011
by The Ainslie Street Project.
Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Self Help.