Breaking and Entering: A Novel

Overview

Set against the tragic events of the Oklahoma City bombings, Breaking and Entering follows Christian/Jewish couple Louise and Richard Shapiro as they move from California to rural Michigan with their daughter Molly in an attempt to save their marriage. They find their core beliefs about life and love tested as school counselor Louise’s students blame Satan for their homosexuality while Richard’s new buddies gather arms to defend themselves against enemies at home and abroad. Pollack’s America is divided and ...
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Overview

Set against the tragic events of the Oklahoma City bombings, Breaking and Entering follows Christian/Jewish couple Louise and Richard Shapiro as they move from California to rural Michigan with their daughter Molly in an attempt to save their marriage. They find their core beliefs about life and love tested as school counselor Louise’s students blame Satan for their homosexuality while Richard’s new buddies gather arms to defend themselves against enemies at home and abroad. Pollack’s America is divided and splintered, yet she writes with hope and humor…Breaking and Entering challenges the stereotypes we hold about our fellow Americans, reminding us of the unexpected bonds that can form across the divide between so-called Red and Blue states.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Louise Shapiro is thoroughly beset in this thorny, lucid novel. Her bad luck begins in California, where her husband abandons his psychology practice and takes a job in a rural Michigan prison. Louise struggles to adjust to the heartland, which seems overpopulated with religious nuts and militia members. Her husband drifts away into a rebellious, gun-toting fugue, and the lover she takes becomes remote in his own way. Contributing to and reflecting her malaise is the ominous sociopolitical climate: the Oklahoma City bombing occurs midway, and throughout Louise grapples with the suddenly vivid awareness that the country is full of people whose worldviews are almost incomprehensibly different from her own. Her increasingly nuanced view of the sociopolitical divide is reflected in Pollack’s sensitive portrayals of both liberal Louise and her ilk, and their conservative counterparts. Weaving the personal with the political, Pollack (In the Mouth) creates an encompassing haze of dissatisfaction and misdirected passion. Despite the unrelenting misfortune, though, the tone is more solemn than dark; there’s a beautiful contemplativeness, and a believable sense of redemption in the end. Louise is jarred into a kind of awakening that might not have occurred in comfortable Berkeley, and is, if not happier, more enlightened for it. Agent: Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Eileen Pollack’s new novel, “Breaking and Entering,” takes place in rural Michigan in 1995 — the epicenter and high point of the militia movement, before increased scrutiny and revulsion at the Oklahoma City bombing put some militia groups out of business and sent others underground. (Though not a militiaman, the bomber Timothy McVeigh attended their meetings and spent time on a Michigan farm with his fellow conspirator Terry Nichols.) The Oklahoma City attack comes about a third of the way through Pollack’s book, a real-world event that informs and shadows the fictional ones. ...Quite a lot of bad things happen in “Breaking and Entering.” Pollack is an engaging writer with a first-rate eye for the telling sociological detail.... Since the author’s intent is to explore intolerance, hatred and evil, it is not enough that these forces merely simmer and self-perpetuate. The stakes are raised, and escalating consequences play out. ...—Jean Thompson, The New York Times Book Review

A compassionate, humorous new novel about the ambiguities of modern life.
After his patient commits suicide, a shattered Richard Shapiro and his wife, Louise, both therapists, move from upscale, liberal Marin County, California, to a rural Michigan village in 1995. But so much for the great escape: Louise takes up with a magnetic married minister, and Richard befriends members of the local militia, which has ties to the Oklahoma City bomber. Set against the backdrop of a divided America, Breaking and Entering by Eileen Pollack is a novel laced with compassion, humor and wisdom about the ambiguities of modern life. —Lynn Schnurnberger, More Magazine

Louise Shapiro is thoroughly beset in this thorny, lucid novel. Her bad luck begins in California, where her husband abandons his psychology practice and takes a job in a rural Michigan prison. Louise struggles to adjust to the heartland, which seems overpopulated with religious nuts and militia members. Her husband drifts away into a rebellious, gun-toting fugue, and the lover she takes becomes remote in his own way. ... Her increasingly nuanced view of the sociopolitical divide is reflected in Pollack’s sensitive portrayals of both liberal Louise and her ilk, and their conservative counterparts. Weaving the personal with the political, Pollack... creates an encompassing haze of dissatisfaction and misdirected passion. Despite the unrelenting misfortune, though, the tone is more solemn than dark; there’s a beautiful contemplativeness, and a believable sense of redemption in the end. —Publisher’s Weekly

An exploration of Tolstoy’s dictum about unhappy families....A rich and satisfying novel that explores in a significant way contemporary issues of family, religion and politics.—Kirkus Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935536123
  • Publisher: Four Way Books
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Award-winning novelist EILEEN POLLACK is the Zell Director of the University of Michigan’s MFA in Creative Writing Program.
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