Customer Reviews for

Swimming Toward the Ocean

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  • Posted July 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful, strange book

    Fascinating and intriguing and different and a must read. I really loved it and couldn't put it down. A different representation of what life for immigrant Jewish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2001

    Unforgettable and Utterly Compelling

    I have been a fan of Carole Glickfeld¿s for some time now. When I discovered that Swimming Toward the Ocean was to be published in eight long months, it was all that I could do to prevent myself from calling up the bookstores and demanding that they push up their deadlines. I had already read Carole Glickfeld¿s first book of short stories, Useful Gifts, and could not wait to read something else by this gifted and talented author. The day I purchased Carole Glickfeld¿s novel, I read the first few pages while standing near the checkout counter and from that point on I could not put it down. Carole Glickfeld is so wise. I am so emotionally attached to her characters. I want to meet them on the street. I have questions for them. I love them. My mother also sailed through Swimming Toward the Ocean. On the phone she said, ¿Oh, Chenia¿what a character¿and she loved her children so much.¿ We spoke about the intricate lives of Chenia and her family for what could only have been more than an hour, and once I had hung up the phone, my husband asked, ¿Who were you talking about?¿ ¿Chenia,¿ I responded. ¿Do I know Chenia?¿ he asked. ¿No,¿ I answered and pointed to Carole Glickfeld¿s book. It¿s a hardback, the type of book one treasures. Let me tell you a little bit about Chenia, but not too much! Chenia is a Russian immigrant who is pregnant with her third child when the novel opens. Although she is married, Chenia has never experienced a loving relationship with her husband. What follows is a comical, intricate and unique description of Chenia¿s process of self-discovery, as told through the omniscient eyes of her youngest child. Chenia¿s unique personality is enhanced by the fact that her English is often spoken in a foreign syntax and peppered with Yiddish words throughout the novel. It is in this colorful manner that we are introduced to Brighton Beach, the Atlantic Ocean, the cloisters of Manhattan, the shoe store salesman, the opera, the underbelly of the Coney Island boardwalk, a factory fire, and the infidelities of a marriage. Chenia¿s fear of the evil eye, her superior wit and intelligence, her likeable and humane spirit, and her vivid sensuality and passion along with her compelling story make this a must read for men and women alike. I guarantee that you will cancel plans to finish Carole Glickfeld¿s novel and when you have read from cover to cover, you will mourn the loss of Chenia¿s world, considering her a dear and important friend.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2001

    Incredible Reading

    In all my years of reading, this is one of the few books that was very difficult to put down. It was a very moving book. I felt so close to Chenia that she became part of me. I felt her happiness and her sadness. I was there with her at the Cloisters,walking on Dyckman, taking the elevator down to the subway. I was totally submerged into her world. I wish I was able to read the book before my Mom past away last year. It would have provided a better insight to her upbringing and the traditional thoughts and feelings of her generation. It was a beautifully written story. I hung on to every word and was sorry it had to end. This is a book worth reading and I hope to see more books from this wonderful author.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    powerful look at a New York City Jewish family in the 1950s

    In 1953 Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn, Russian-Jew Chenia Arnow agrees with her husband Ruben¿s pronouncement that they cannot afford a third child. Chenia tells the doctor no baby, as she knows they cannot afford a third child plus she is closing in on fifty. Though the doctor gives her a shot to cause a miscarriage, Chenia gives birth to Devorah. <P>Ruben decides to relocate the family by moving to Manhattan nearer to his lover Trudy. Chenia feels guilt for her own liaison with Harry and his ¿Magic Shoes¿. So a family begins to extend while the parents provide illicit lessons to the next generation on faithfulness, caring, and love. <P> SWIMMING TOWARDS THE OCEAN is a powerful look at a New York City Jewish family in the 1950s. The story line provides incredible insight into the era that it documents. The key players, Chenia and Ruben come to life through their reactions to her two affairs and his three affairs as seen through the eyes of Devorah, who narrates the story. In this realistic look back in time, Devorah¿s insightful knowledge of family matters that she would at best know few facts could destroy the feel of the plot, but instead opens the story line even wider. Whether the specifically of the events is true or not, Devorah the narrator believes them to be so and perhaps subconsciously filed in the gaps. Carole L. Glickfeld has written a superb tale that the boomers and probably their children will want to read. <P>Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2001

    A Compelling Story

    'Swimming Toward The Ocean' is hard to put down! It is a compelling story with strong characters that I really cared about. The story moves along rapidly and pulled me in from the first page. The descriptions and every day details are wonderful. I am an avid reader of contemporary fiction. 'Swimming Toward The Ocean' is a winner!

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