It is July 1929, and the Cohen family of Buffalo, N.Y., is searching for Goldie, their oldest daughter, who has disappeared. Her loss is mourned for 20 years—until she returns, having been living in California the whole time.
In her absence, three of her siblings live with the patriarch, Abe Cohen, who owns a jewelry store and has taken a lover as his wife, Rebecca, was dying. Sadie, the responsible child, struggles to reconcile her storybook marriage with her doubts. She is also frustrated with her siblings: Jo ignores her passions so as not to rock the boat, Celia won't outgrow her fits of immaturity, and Irving, the only son, follows his desires down one wrong path after another until his father dies.
No single one of these story lines is compelling enough to sustain this family saga. But Reisman's hypnotic prose makes her forlorn characters live. And her sympathy and wealth of detail make the Cohens' world our own: specific, inescapably flawed, unpredictably meaningful and very, very real.