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Brass: A Novel by Xhenet Aliu

Brass: A Novel (edition 2018)

by Xhenet Aliu (Author)

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1218150,221 (3.92)10
Title:Brass: A Novel
Authors:Xhenet Aliu (Author)
Info:Random House (2018), 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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Brass by Xhenet Aliu


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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
I love a good inter-generational story about mothers and daughters. Nothing totally revolutionary here but a solid debut novel. Loved the dedication. It's what I have to tell my mother about everything she reads of mine. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
By Xhenet Aliu
Random House

Elise Kuzavinas, a Lithuanian meets Bashkim, a married man from Albania, while working as a waitress in the Betsy Ross Diner in Waterbury Conn. They have a daughter, Luljeta, whose dreams of living in Manhattan and attending NYU. However, when Lulu is suspended and receives a rejection letter from NYU on the same day, Lulu returns home to Waterbury, very unhappy. Once home she decides to learn the history and past of her fairweather father....oh the things sf he will find....
The wit, candor and spunk take this novel to the perfect level to tell this tale.
I loved it. Great story....Great pace and awesome humor. ( )
  over.the.edge | Aug 13, 2018 |
In the decaying factory town of Waterbury, Connecticut, a young Lithuanian American girl gets a job as a waitress at the Betsy Ross diner. Her mother's an alcoholic, her younger sister has the brains and grades to get out of Waterbury, and Elsie's just hoping for a better life. Instead, she meets Bashkim, newly emigrated from Albania, where he left his wife behind in the hopes of a better life in the US.

A generation later, Elsie's daughter, Luljeta, also hopes for a better life somewhere else, but a rejection letter from the university she'd pinned her hopes on have her scrambling to find a reason to believe that she can make a better life for herself than the low income grind she has with her mother. Lulu goes in search of the father her mother won't talk about.

This may be a debut novel, but it's self-assured and well-written. Xhenet Aliu has managed something even seasoned authors struggle with; her two narrators sound different, but subtly so. She also writes with a dry humor and keen eye for detail. The characters inhabit a vivid, if run-down world and there's a lot of detail as to the cultural and social structures of the immigrant communities Lulu and Elsie live in, as well as the realities of always having to scramble to make the rent payment. I was impressed by this novel, loved that it shed light on people and places not usually given attention.

The addition of your mother's boyfriend, the postanarchist Professor Robbie, brings the total number of guests gathered for Christmas dinner to five, one more than the quartet of you, your mother, Mamie, and Greta, which had gathered for Thanksgiving and all other previous holidays you've sat through your entire life. Even with the addition of a Y chromosome, your Noel looks mostly like a nativity scene staged by a militant women's separatist group. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Jul 9, 2018 |
I really liked this—kind of exactly what I needed to read right now. As an essentially kind person who sometimes walks around with a chip on my shoulder because the world is a difficult place, I find reading about essentially kind people who sometimes walk around with chips on their shoulders because the world is a difficult place to be really... comforting. At least if the writing is good and the story has a good compassionate heart, and this is definitely one of those. Super sweet without being at all saccharine. ( )
3 vote lisapeet | Mar 5, 2018 |
This was such a delight to read. What a fresh new voice. My review for bookpage where it's the read of the month!! Deservedly so.
https://bookpage.com/reviews/22211-xhenet-aliu-brass#.WoWuIk2WwdU ( )
  laurenbufferd | Feb 15, 2018 |
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To my mother, this book is for you, not about you, I promise.
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When the last of the brass mills locked up their doors and hauled ass out of town once and for all, it seemed all they left behind were blocks of abandoned factories that poked out from behind high stone gates like caskets floated to the surface after the great flood of '55.
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A fierce debut novel about mothers and daughters, haves and have-nots, and the stark realities behind the American Dream A waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elsie hopes her nickel-and-dime tips will add up to a new life. Then she meets Bashkim, who is at once both worldly and naive, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams--and wound up working as a line cook in Waterbury, Connecticut. Back when the brass mills were still open, this bustling factory town drew one wave of immigrants after another. Now it's the place they can't seem to leave. Elsie, herself the granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, falls in love quickly, but when she learns that she's pregnant, Elsie can't help wondering where Bashkim's heart really lies, and what he'll do about the wife he left behind. Seventeen years later, headstrong and independent Luljeta receives a rejection letter from NYU and her first-ever suspension from school on the same day. Instead of striking out on her own in Manhattan, she's stuck in Connecticut with her mother, Elsie--a fate she refuses to accept. Wondering if the key to her future is unlocking the secrets of the past, Lulu decides to find out what exactly her mother has been hiding about the father she never knew. As she soon discovers, the truth is closer than she ever imagined. Told in equally gripping parallel narratives with biting wit and grace, Brass announces a fearless new voice with a timely, tender, and quintessentially American story. Advance praise for Brass The unforgettable mother and daughter at the center of Brass are as bright and tough as the metal itself, and Xhenet Aliu depicts their parallel journeys with equal parts grit and tenderness. Brass is a fierce, big-hearted, unflinching debut. --Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You Xhenet Aliu is ferociously talented. She's written a story so scathingly honest with characters so perfectly real, it left me breathless with admiration. There is no false sentiment here, no misplaced word, just a novel that pulses with a restless energy, a novel that pulses with life. --Cristina Henriquez, author of The Book of Unknown Americans.… (more)

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