As a blizzard blankets the northeast United States, burying residents and shutting down airports, the Zaydan family eagerly awaits the arrival of Eva, a cousin visiting from Lebanon after a long separation from the family. Over the course of one day, while Eva is stranded in New York City, Chehade’s nuanced story unfolds in the reminiscences and anxieties of each family member.
Emilie, the matriarch of this Lebanese American family, lives in a world of voluntary silence. Barely able to read and write in English and refusing to speak for the last several years, she immerses herself in her garden and leaves elaborately cooked meals anonymously for her solitary neighbor. Emilie’s oldest daughter Josephine, middle aged and still living with her mother and married brother, struggles to gain her independence and prepare for the arrival of her cousin, whose impending visits has reawakened conflicting emotions. Young Marie, Emilie’s granddaughter, stifled by her conservative family, is determined to study at Berkeley and to leave behind her immigrant identity. All three are drawn to their mysterious neighbor, nicknamed Loom, whose loneliness and isolation mirror their own and kindle within each woman a desire to make a connection. When Emilie takes off during the blizzard in the direction of Loom’s house and the rest of the family follows in her pursuit, their act is both an escape and a reaching out. Beautifully written and teeming with vivid portraits, Chehade’s novel is both heartfelt and wise.
This wasn’t the worst book I’ve read, but it wasn’t the best.
While it is very well written, I didn’t like the way the author jumped from one character’s storyline to the other. I found myself having to go back to try to figure out which character she was talking about. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters, and there wasn’t really much of a plot.
The only reason I finished this book is because I wanted to find out what happened to Loom’s family. And when I did finish the book I was kind of perturbed because there wasn’t really an ending. It is just kind of a day in the life of a family of Lebanese immigrants in the middle of a snowstorm in small town Vermont.