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The Singing Fire
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743249674, Paperback)Lilian Nattel has written another remarkable novel set in a historic Jewish community -- the bustling alleys of London's East End in the late nineteenth century. In stunningly vivid prose, and with a touch of her trademark magical realism, Nattel brings the fin de siécle city to life -- whores and rabbis, street vendors and artists, sweatshops and Yiddish theatre.
Nehama and Emilia each arrive in London alone, naïve and full of dreams of independence. Each struggles to overcome her past and build a new life, Nehama in the Jewish ghetto and Emilia in the privileged West End. The Singing Fire is the tale of these two unforgettable women and the child that unites them. Nattel writes with immense compassion about points of human connection -- the kindness of strangers, the power of women's friendships, the bonds between mothers and daughters, and the importance of families -- the ones you are born to, the ones you discover, and the ones that you begin.
(retrieved from Amazon Sun, 06 Jan 2013 12:04:31 -0500)
"Lilian Nattel brings to life a vanished world - the lanes boiling with the steam from kettles of laundry, the smokestacks belching coal dust, the chatter of tailors, piemen, and thieves. This is where Nehama arrives with her dreams of independence, not realizing the dangers that a girl on her own must face. Tricked into prostitution and with only the whispers of her deceased grandmother to guide her, she escapes into the alleys of the East End, where bustling market stalls and penny seats at the theater are just a handsbreadth away from the criminal warrens. In the Jewish ghetto Nehama makes a new life, remembering the lessons of the street to help another runaway, Emilia, pregnant and unwed. But Emilia refuses a hardscrabble life and, relinquishing her baby to Nehama, re-creates herself in the chic streets of the West End. Nattel intertwines the stories of these women as they build their lives in two sides of the city." "Nattel writes of the chaos of this rich city life; she tells the stories of whores and rabbis, street vendors and artists, sweatshops and Yiddish theater, and she renders the courage of mothers and sisters navigating dangerous realms."--BOOK JACKET.