Twelve-year-old Sarah Stein loves life in New York. Who wouldn’t, growing up in a cool TriBeCa loft with an artist dad and a chocolate-maker mom, rollerblading in Central Park, hanging out with friends? That is, until the day her parents tell her they’re divorcing. Forced to shuttle each day by bicycle between their separate residences on either side of the Brooklyn Bridge, Sarah soon discovers that the parents she thought she knew are as opposite as their new homes. She takes on a bizarrely split identity—one day she’s the daughter of the prim, social-climbing chocolatier, the next the streetwise, smart-aleck child of the downtown abstract painter. Sarah Stein becomes a stranger to herself. But that’s not the only thing that’s strange. Colliding with the cart of a homeless man one day while pedaling across the bridge, Sarah tumbles through a magical portal and into an upside-down world of double identities and second chances.
Through her friendship with the homeless Clarence Wind, a disgraced fireman missing since 9/11, and the love of her grandmother, a wise Holocaust survivor with her own hidden past, Sarah unlocks the mysteries behind the strangeness that she and Clarence share. In this witty, wonder-filled novel about broken homes and disconnected lives, with the majestic Brooklyn Bridge as backdrop and the legacies of the Holocaust and the Twin Towers as backstory, Sarah Stein’s adventures prove both heartbreaking and heartwarming, an enchantment for readers of all ages.
About Thane Rosenbaum
Thane Rosenbaum, author of the critically acclaimed novels The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and Elijah Visible, is also a law professor at Fordham Law School. He lives in New York City. www.thanerosenbaum.com
Book review: ‘The Stranger Within Sarah Stein’
The Chicago Tribune Book Review – March 24, 2012 (Excerpt)
Young adult novelists are increasingly tackling darker subjects: kidnappings, drugs, rape. But few have delved into so many dark subjects as novelist Thane Rosenbaum, who ventures into YA territory with his latest, “The Stranger Within Sarah Stein,” a novel revolving around divorce, Sept. 11, homelessness and the Holocaust.
What might be most odd about this combination of subjects is that the book isn’t glum at all. Told through the eyes of the perky, bike-riding 12-year-old Sarah Stein, the daughter of a candy-making mother and an artist-painter father, it works as more of a fantasy than as a dark rumination on tragedy. There is sadness between the lines, but also a bright fairy-tale aspect, a kind of “Willy Wonka” meets “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.”
The book opens as Sarah’s parents decide to divorce, forcing her to shuttle, on bike, between her father’s loft in TriBeCa and her mother’s new Brooklyn pad, near the chocolate factory (Carly Cocoa’s Chocolate Factory — see what I mean about fairy tale?). Upset by her wrenched-apart life, Sarah slowly becomes two separate Sarahs, one who is girly but ditzy and lives in Brooklyn, another who is biker chic and lives in Manhattan. [Read the full article...]
THE LONDONDERRY AIR
Testament of an Ulster Gunman
A Novel by Garrad Gawler
It all changed for Charles Cunningham, a Physics teacher at the local College of Technology in the County Derry town of Maddenstown, on a June afternoon in 1973 when a bomb exploded in his neighborhood. He answers an advertisement by the UDR, the Ulster Defence Regiment, but, in the time to come, he will experience the consequences of his decisions, and how his involvement complicates matters with family and friends, Protestants and Catholics alike, to an unexpected degree.
With “The Londonderry Air – Testament of an Ulster Gunman” Garrad Gawler describes in minute detail and with an astonishing level of authenticity not only the inner workings of the Ulster Defence Regiment, but also the activities of underground paramilitary groups of regular citizens who planned and carried out the assassination of suspected Republican terrorists in their neighborhood.
The Londonderry Air is available at Amazon.Com, Amazon Kindle (US), Amazon.co.uk, Amazon Kindle (UK), Barnes & Noble, smashwords.com, and any other good bookstore.
For more information on Garrad Gawler and to read an excerpt of “The Londonderry Air,” please see the author’s section on this website.