The War at Home by Nora Eisenberg

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"Remarkable. Thrillingly well-crafted. A brilliant novel."—Robert Olen Butler

Lucy Lehman has a secret. Everybody loves her eccentric family but nobody knows what's really going on. Her mother is a respected dance therapist, able to calm the most incorrigible delinquents in the Bronx. Her father, just returned from WW2, is a working class hero. On a good night they'll eat snack food for dinner, do the dishes in the tub while the kids are taking a bath and sing old labor songs. But on a bad night, when dad comes home in one of his dark moods and mom retreats to her bed, surrounded by the empty bottles of pills she's charmed out of neighborhood pharmacists, the insults fly along with the furniture.

Told with wit, understanding, and remarkable pluck, The War at Home is a warts-and-all autobiographical novel in the tradition of The Liar's Club, in which an inseparable brother and sister thrive in spite of the crazy household created by their parents and learn to raise themselves to survive.

The War At Home evokes the more innocent world of New York City in the 1950's, where lonely teenagers can find a safe haven in the Botanical Gardens and the Bronx River speaks of freedom as surely to two Jewish run-aways as to Huckleberry Finn.

"This is a profoundly moving and intelligent evocation of the magnificent terrors of family life, the ones that bind us to childhood forever: beautifully written, deeply felt."—Vivian Gornick

Nora Eisenberg is a Professor of English at the City University of New York. Her work has appeared in the The Partisan Review, The Village Voice Literary Supplement, and Tikkun. She is the co-author of four popular books on writing, most recently The American Values Reader (Allyn & Bacon, 2001). She lives in Manhattan.


About Nora Eisenberg

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Nora Eisenberg holds a PhD from Columbia University and currently directs the City University of New York's Faculty Publication Program. She is the author of two novels, The War at Home and Just the Way You Want Me. Her short stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Village, Partisan, Tikkun, and the Los Angeles Times, among others.
Published February 1, 2002 by Leapfrog Press. 210 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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After their father leaves his new girlfriend and comes home, enough peace is restored that they can spend three summers at a bohemian upstate camp, where their mother organizes the dance program.

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Publishers Weekly

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By Lucy's teen years, Tippy's over-the-top rampages (à la Mommie Dearest) force brother and sister to run away, and though Nick revels in his independence, Lucy eventually returns and decides to face womanhood back in the hopeless reality of life with Mom in the Bronx.

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Boston Review

"We were so lucky," Lucy's narrative begins, "not having a real mother.

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