Days of Awe

Knopf. 2015. 256p. ISBN 9780307268129. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780385353113. F
Isabel Applebaum Moore is still grieving the death of her closest friend, Josie Abrams, killed in an auto accident. A fellow teacher in their Wisconsin elementary school, Josie was married to Isabel's longtime friend Mark. Isabel's husband, Chris, doesn't understand his wife lately, so he moves into his own apartment. Their tween daughter, Hannah, is no help, as everything her mother does is wrong. Isabel's mother, Helene, left Europe at the age of four with her parents; most of her family died in the Holocaust. Helene suggests that Isabel attend a support group for Relationships in Transition. How does one cope with a caustic mother, an absent husband, a self-absorbed daughter, and a gaping hole that was once occupied by one's closest ally? The ten-day period from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur is known as the Days of Awe, a time for reflection and consideration of the sins of the previous year, leading to the Day of Atonement. The months following Josie's death heap change and revelation upon Isabel, who thought she had all the answers.
VERDICT Fox (Friends Like Us; Still Life with Husband) reveals the dissolution of our certainties with witty and arresting prose. A touching and impressive story for readers who thrive on the unexpected.
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