A writer renowned for his insight into the mysteries of the body now gives us a lambent and profoundly moving book about the mysteries of family. At its center lies Sherwin Nuland’s Rembrandtesque portrait of his father, Meyer Nudelman, a Jewish garment worker who came to America in the early years of the last century but remained an eternal outsider. Awkward in speech and movement, broken by the premature deaths of a wife and child, Meyer ruled his youngest son with a regime of rage, dependency, and helpless love that outlasted his death.
In evoking their relationship, Nuland also summons up the warmth and claustrophobia of a vanished immigrant New York, a world that impelled its children toward success yet made them feel like traitors for leaving it behind. Full of feeling and unwavering observation, Lost in America deserves a place alongside such classics as Patrimony and Call It Sleep.