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Book Review: 'Swimming Toward the Ocean'

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Swimming Toward the Ocean

Current Status:
In Season
Carole L. Glickfeld

We gave it a C+

So distraught is Russian-Jewish immigrant Chenia Arnow — with her ”small, silky face, her huge, heaving bosom” — at finding herself pregnant again, that she nearly drowns herself in the water near Coney Island. She’s got two kids already, her conniving husband’s off with his mistress, and this, to echo the locutions of Chenia’s Yiddish-inflected speech, she doesn’t need. She chooses life, though, and the daughter born becomes the narrator of this oversold tale of one hot, old-world mama who’s a hit with men in the new world. Glickfeld, a prize-winning short-story writer, ostensibly sets her romance in 1953 Brooklyn, but her heroine hovers in an undatable bobbe-myseh — a fairy tale. C+