Household Words by Joan Silber
A Novel

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Winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award: "Unqualified praise goes to this rarity: an extraordinary novel about ordinary people."--Chicago Tribune

The year is 1940, and Rhoda Taber is pregnant with her first child. Satisfied with her comfortable house in a New Jersey suburb and her reliable husband, Leonard, she expects that her life will be predictable and secure. Surprised by an untimely death, an unexpected illness, and the contrary natures of her two daughters, Rhoda finds that fate undermines her sense of entitlement and security. Shrewd, wry, and sometimes bitter, Rhoda reveals herself to be a wonderfully flawed and achingly real woman caught up in the unexpectedness of her own life.

About Joan Silber

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Joan Silber is the author of six previous works of fiction. Among many awards and honors, she has won a PEN/Hemingway Award and has been a finalist for the National Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.
Published November 17, 2005 by W. W. Norton & Company. 341 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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And though Rhoda is often obtuse (with ""an inadequate inner life""), she and gently intelligent pharmacist-husband Leonard become financially secure parents of two young daughters, always realistic, ready to ""bear what was bearable."" But when Rhoda's boisterous, adored mother dies of cancer, o...

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Kirkus Reviews

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Silber’s lean, aloof style, which made last year’s Ideas of Heaven a National Book Award finalist, is evident here in her first novel about Rhoda Taber, an ordinary woman living an unremarkable life in a 1940s affluent New Jersey community.

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Publishers Weekly

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Silber (Ideas of Heaven) follows Rhoda from Suzanne's birth, in 1940, to late middle age, episodically exploring Rhoda's ""unremitting force of character"" and sometimes ""startling hardness."" Rhoda and Leonard socialize, do some low-level schmoozing, and mundanely move along through the '40s, u...

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Historical Novel Society

In a short time, life comes undone for Rhoda: two family members die, and Rhoda finds herself raising two daughters alone.

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