A wonderful fiction debut, Being Esther gives voice to Esther Lustig, an extraordinary woman who has lived a conventional life, in this touching exploration of aging.
In spare, unsentimental prose, Miriam Karmel provides readers with one of literature’s finest portraits of the last months of a woman’s life. Sad and amusing, unpretentious and ambitious, Karmel’s prose brings understanding and tremendous empathy to the character of Esther Lustig, a woman who readers will recognize and embrace. Born to parents who fled the shtetl, Esther Lustig has led a seemingly conventional life marriage, two children, a life in suburban Chicago. Now, at the age of 85, her husband is deceased, her children have families of their own, and most of her friends are gone. Even in this diminished condition, life has its moments of richness, as well as its memorable characters. Being Esther reflects the need, as Esther puts it, for better roadmaps for growing old.
|Product dimensions:||5.00(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Miriam Karmel has worked professionally as a newspaper reporter and magazine editor, and most recently as a freelance writer specializing in medicine and health. Her journalism has appeared in AARP magazine and Minnesota Women's Press. Her fiction has won numerous regional prizes, and her stories have been published in Bellevue Literary Review, Minnesota Monthly, and anthologized in Milkweed's Fiction on a Stick. She lives in Minneapolis, MN, and Sandisfield, MA. Being Esther is her first novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A Great Story! I’ve read books like, “Still Alice”, where an adult woman experiences the onset of alzheimer’s and how her mind slowly betrays her. However, this is a new twist. This is a story about Esther, an elderly Jewish woman, who is quite coherent and present. After losing her husband and friends, she and her dear friend call each other every day to make sure they never die without someone knowing. The way it works, is they each take turns calling each other everyday. They both agree that if one doesn’t answer one day, then to make sure their family knows and to fulfill their wishes. What truly is sad and heartwarming at the same time, is how time does fly by and how quickly one ages. What happens when you are alone, have a poor relationship with your child, have a life filled with special moments and some regrets? Through Esther’s journey, you will see how the simple acts of doing something each day and normal routine are still remarkable moments in life. Most importantly, that everyone has a story, deserves a listening ear, and a little bit of your time.- Books in the Burbs
In "Being Esther," Miriam Karmel skillfully draws the character of 80s-something Esther, who is not a stereotypical "elderly" person as normally portrayed in too many novels; she is neither sugar-sweet, nor notoriously cranky. I don't want to give anything away, but suffice it to say that it is a very moving book, that stayed with me mentally, long after I finished reading it. The book is from the point of view of Esther, and it's a poignant reminder that all of us are individuals, that all our preferences and autonomy should be respected as much as possible - and that no one should be "put in a box," no matter our age. During the last busy year, I have managed to squeeze in every moment of reading possible, and I normally finish about two books per week. And out of all those, after a couple Erik Larsen books, "Being Esther" has been my favorite.