This book is magnificent. Susan Jane Gilman is a master story weaver with perfect pitch—for dialogue, narrative, curlicued paradoxical human responses, and everything that contributes to a literary symphony.
The time structure of this book is inspired—weaving from both the past, forward and the future, back to finally sync up in a central present.
The story of the evolution of Russian Jewish immigrant child Malka Treynovsky into a Jewish Italian American Marie Antoinette/Leona Helmsley/Martha Stewart/Joan Rivers ice cream diva named Lillian Dunkle is both an only-in-the-USA story and a transcendently human tour-de-force of hurt, humiliation, resentment, delicious revenge, regret, and resilience. The historical research alone deserves a standing ovation! Brava and thank you, Susan Jane Gilman.
And a blatant plug: If you like this book, you’ll like my new opus, coming out any day from Black Lawrence Press as their Big Moose Prize-winner, The Last Will & Testament of Zelda McFigg. Zelda is at least a second cousin to Lillian Dunkle . . . and Amy Bloom’s Eva Acton in her magnificent new book Lucky Us.