Picks and Pans Review: Ember Days
by Margaret Wander Bonnano
Bonnano, 30, author of A Certain Slant of Light, creates a modernized Tree Grows in Brooklyn in her second novel. It is the story of four generations of women, viewed in the context of feminist themes. The grandmother is cruel and obsessed with religion. The mother is depressed and impossibly self-centered. The daughter—the novel's main character—is determined to avoid the patterns of her mother and grandmother and not hand down to her own children a burden of guilt. The family starts in Newfoundland, and the best parts of the book tell of the harsh life there, the poverty that drove the people to the States and into Brooklyn, where they settled in an ethnic enclave. (Bonnano was born in Brooklyn and now lives on Staten Island.) This is a most satisfying, old-fashioned story—the kind of novel that used to be called "heartwarming." (Seaview, $11.95)
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