Hilda and Pearl by Alice Mattison

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To Frances, an only child living in McCarthy-era Brooklyn, her mother, Hilda, and her aunt Pearl seem as if they have always been friends. Frances does not question the love between the two women until her father's job as a teacher is threatened by anti-Communism, just as Frances begins to learn about her family's past. Why does Hilda refer to her "first pregnancy," as if Frances wasn't her only child? Whose baby shoes are hidden in Hilda's dresser drawer? Why is there tension when Pearl and her husband come to visit?

The story of a young girl in the fifties and her elders' coming-of-age in the unquiet thirties, this book resonates deeply, revealing in beautiful, clear language the complexities of friendship and loss.


About Alice Mattison

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Alice Mattison is the award-winning author of four story collections and five novels, including Nothing Is Quite Forgotten in Brooklyn. She teaches fiction in the graduate writing program at Bennington College in Vermont and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
Published June 26, 2012 by Harper Perennial. 308 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Hilda and Pearl

Kirkus Reviews

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(All four decide to overlook the transgression and pretend it never happened, despite Pearl's belief that the child she carries is her brother-in-law's, not her husband's.) When Frances finally pops up again, she interrupts the rhythm of the novel, which--as indicated by the title--turns out to b...

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Publishers Weekly

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The sons of Jewish immigrants, Nathan, Frances's father, and Mike, his younger brother, are opposites: Nathan is an idealistic Brooklyn high-school English teacher with a burning social conscience;

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Los Angeles Times

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Sisters-in-law Hilda and Pearl take such delight in each other's company that Hilda's 11-year-old daughter Frances often feels left out of the magic circle created by her mother and her aunt.

Apr 04 1995 | Read Full Review of Hilda and Pearl

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