Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyReaders who enjoyed the witty dialogue and rollercoaster of emotions in Brickner's unforgettable novel Tickets will find a more subtle but no less intelligently told story here. The eponymous ``she'' is Emily Weil's mother, who left her stockbroker husband, two daughters and a comfortable Park Avenue apartment to aid Jewish refugees during WW IIand subsequently died in Shanghai. Although only 10 when her mother left, Emily's life has been haunted by her absence. Images of her mother pervade her consciousness, sending an ambivalent message of abandonment and selfless love. We meet Emily as a teenager during the 1940s and follow her over the next decade as she tests her ambition to be an actress during a stint in summer stock, then joins a publishing firm after college. There are boyfriends, one-time sexual encounters and, eventually, a short-lived marriage. As Tickets revolved around opera at the Met, the central image here is of the Broadway theater, the atmosphere of heightened reality where Emily feels most alive. Her determination not to be ordinary, not to waste her life, is her mother's legacy, she realizes ultimately. Brickner has a remarkable ability to convey a young woman's thoughts and impressions. His portrait of Emily, however, while interesting, is overpowered and somehow trivialized by the enigmatic presence of the mother she has lost. (May)
Library JournalAfter She Left is a psychological portrait of Emily, an intense young woman striving to live her romantic ideals and avoid becoming a ``typical superficial Park Avenue girl.'' Part of her struggle is to live up to a mother who deserted the family to help refugees and later died during World War II. These events have left Emily with a tremendous sense of loss. Despite constant immersion in Emily's psyche, the reader comes away feeling curiously disengaged and unsympathetic. Interesting reading, but the book is marred by abrupt transitions and occasionally heavy-handed psychological detail.Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
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