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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers
In 1906, the spirit of Freidl Alterman rests uncomfortably in a small Jewish cemetery in Poland. In life, she was childless and disappointed in marriage; in death, her restless soul wanders without solace. Meanwhile, young Itzik Leiber, pursued by an angry mob for the accidental death of a Polish peasant, is running for his life. Desperate for help, he throws himself on Freidl's grave and prays for God's protection. At last, Freidl thinks, a child! And she rises from the earth to guide the boy to safety. But even Freidl knows Itzik's life will never be the same. Fearing retribution from the mob, he flees to America.
Decades after his escape, Itzik refuses to acknowledge his old memories. But after his death, his son, Nathan, and his granddaughter, Ellen, make their own journeys to Poland. Back in the old country, Freidl leads them to Itzik's birthplace, where they meet the town's sole surviving Jew. Only here, Freidl believes, can the Leiber family piece together the richness of a legacy that was very nearly lost, and only this, she knows, will bring her the peace she so deserves.
Spanning generations and continents to reveal a family's -- and a country's -- history, A Day of Small Beginnings immerses readers in a vivid, lyrical world and introduces a clear, graceful, and important voice in modern literature. (Holiday 2006 Selection)