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The Book of Dahlia: A Novel by Elisa Albert
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The Book of Dahlia: A Novel

by Elisa Albert

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
A tough, brave book about a young woman who finds herself dying before she has quite managed to find a way to live. ( )
  flydodofly | Aug 11, 2013 |
I thought it was better at the beginning than what it proved to be halfway through. Even though I didn't love the story I do like the writer. ( )
  E.J | Apr 3, 2013 |
I was attracted to The Book of Dahlia after I finished reading this author’s debut book of short stories. Her unique voice is loud and clear. It becomes even more defined in this novel about a twenty-nine-year old Jewish girl who has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

You say you don’t want to read a depressing book? Well, you’ll have to forget about the main topic and read into this story. It’s been a rather tough life all along for Dahlia so her diagnosis of a terminal illness is not that overpowering in the long run of things. Brought to the United States as a child, Dahlia had been born of an Israeli mother and an American father. Her dad, an ineffective father but caring person, is her main caretaker because her older brother goes off to college to become a rabbi and her mother travels abroad to do charitable work. Dahlia is left pretty much alone. She is a survivor, though. Her psyche has all sorts of defenses against the blows that life deals her.

This is a tough story to read if you dwell on the dysfunctional nature of Dahlia’s family and her illness. It’s a super treat, however, if you listen to Dahlia as she recounts her family’s story. She’s a strong female character and a fighter. I liked the flaws within her character as well. It made her seem real.

There was something about reading Dahlia’s story that drove me to read this book quickly and thoroughly. I’d say it’s Elisa Albert’s style of writing. Sharp and incisive, it just goes barrelling forward. Additionally, I loved the transliterated Hebrew words (not all of them translated) that were sprinkled throughout the story. I felt as if I were an insider, understanding them all. I’d say this book might not be for everyone, but I was enthralled by the quality of the story-telling and eagerly await the next powerful novel by Elisa Albert. ( )
3 vote SqueakyChu | Jan 29, 2011 |
A bit too morbid and rambling ( )
  ellro03 | Apr 6, 2009 |
Dahlia's stark and unrelentingly melancholy voice guides the reader through narrative in passive retrospect--through love and jealousy, disappointment and failure, and finally loss, resignation, and peace. The work throws the nature of inner/outer equilibrium into question when it takes to task the ideologies of a generalized set of self-help literature, the alienating language of medicine, and the psychology of disease. The tone is sometimes friendless and derisive in its etiology of utter solitude, and the protagonist herself is difficult to love--but each are memorable nonetheless. ( )
  ckaminski | Feb 10, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743291298, Hardcover)

From the author of the critically acclaimed story collection How This Night Is Different comes a dark, arresting, fearlessly funny story of one young woman's terminal illness. In The Book of Dahlia, Elisa Albert walks a dazzling line between gravitas and irreverence, mining an exhilarating blend of skepticism and curiosity, compassion and candor, high and low culture.

Meet Dahlia Finger: twenty-nine, depressed, whip-smart, occasionally affable, bracingly honest, resolutely single, and perennially unemployed. She spends her days stoned in front of the TV, watching the same movies repeatedly, like "a form of prayer." But Dahlia's so-called life is upended by an aggressive, inoperable brain tumor.

Stunned and uncomprehending, Dahlia must work toward reluctant emotional reckoning with the aid of a questionable self-help guide. She obsessively revisits the myriad heartbreaks, disappointments, rages, and regrets that comprise the story of her life -- from her parents' haphazard Israeli courtship to her kibbutz conception; from the role of beloved daughter and little sister to that of abandoned, suicidal adolescent; from an affluent childhood in Los Angeles to an aimless existence in the gentrified wilds of Brooklyn; from a girl with "options" to a girl with none -- convinced that cancer struck because she herself is somehow at fault.

With her take-no-prisoners perspective, her depressive humor, and her extreme vulnerability, Dahlia Finger is an unforgettable anti-heroine. This staggering portrait of one young woman's life and death confirms Elisa Albert as a "witty, incisive" (Variety) and even "wonder-inducing" writer (Time Out New York).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:46 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A young Jewish-American woman learns that she has brain cancer and through a series of flashbacks examines her wasted life.

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