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The Fortunate Ones: A Novel

The Fortunate Ones: A Novel

Написано Ellen Umansky

Озвучено Karen White


The Fortunate Ones: A Novel

Написано Ellen Umansky

Озвучено Karen White

оценки:
3.5/5 (21 оценки)
Длина:
12 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 14, 2017
ISBN:
9780062659552
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Описание

One very special work of art—a Chaim Soutine painting—will connect the lives and fates of two different women, generations apart, in this enthralling and transporting debut novel that moves from World War II Vienna to contemporary Los Angeles.

It is 1939 in Vienna, and as the specter of war darkens Europe, Rose Zimmer’s parents are desperate. Unable to get out of Austria, they manage to secure passage for their young daughter on a kindertransport, and send her to live with strangers in England.

Six years later, the war finally over, a grief-stricken Rose attempts to build a life for herself. Alone in London, devastated, she cannot help but try to search out one piece of her childhood: the Chaim Soutine painting her mother had cherished.

Many years later, the painting finds its way to America. In modern-day Los Angeles, Lizzie Goldstein has returned home for her father’s funeral. Newly single and unsure of her path, she also carries a burden of guilt that cannot be displaced. Years ago, as a teenager, Lizzie threw a party at her father’s house with unexpected but far-reaching consequences. The Soutine painting that she loved and had provided lasting comfort to her after her own mother had died was stolen, and has never been recovered.

This painting will bring Lizzie and Rose together and ignite an unexpected friendship, eventually revealing long-held secrets that hold painful truths. Spanning decades and unfolding in crystalline, atmospheric prose, The Fortunate Ones is a haunting story of longing, devastation, and forgiveness, and a deep examination of the bonds and desires that map our private histories.

Издатель:
Издано:
Feb 14, 2017
ISBN:
9780062659552
Формат:
Аудиокнига

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Также доступно как книгеКниге


Об авторе

Ellen Umansky has published fiction and nonfiction in a variety of venues, including the New York Times, Salon, Playboy, and the short story anthologies Lost Tribe: Jewish Fiction from the Edge and Sleepaway: Writings on Summer Camp.She has worked in the editorial departments of The Forward, Tablet, and The New Yorker. She grew up in Los Angeles, and now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.

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3.5
21 оценки / 19 Обзоры
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  • (4/5)
    The Fortunate Ones is a brilliant debut that spans decades, through pre-war, WW I & II to present days; and has brought two women of different worlds and generations together. And the common factor that made this happen is a piece of stolen painting Bellhop by Chaim Soutine.The story tells of the escape of 11-year-old Rose and her brother Gerhard , without their parents, from the war-invaded Vienna to England. It is learned that a lot of paintings have been stolen or missing after the war. Grief-striken, lonely, and home-sick, Rose is always on the search of her mother’s most cherished painting Bellhop as in finding a piece of her childhood with her parents, in order to comfort and soothe her feeling. In Los Angeles 2006-2008, Lizzie is also searching for the Bellhop which she blames that it is her fault the painting was stolen. At her father’s funeral, Rose and Lizzie have bonded an unusual friendship, and together they try to hunt down the missing Bellhop. Are they able to recover the painting? The ending has an unexpected twist that reveals the long-kept secrets and truths.Lots of time, we tend to escape or run away from our problems and responsibilities. Nonetheless, we also grateful that we are living ; and we are the fortunate ones.I enjoy reading this historical novel and would recommend to anyone who loves historical fiction and goodreads.
  • (4/5)
    Overall, I enjoyed the book. It is pieced together by alternating between telling the story of Rose, a 70 year old Jewish woman who was sent away as a child from Vienna pre World War II, and Lizzie, a present day 30 something who has just lost her father. Their lives are intertwined by a painting that was owned by both of their parents. This book tells of love, death, loss, secrets, betrayal, and forgiveness. A unique story that kept my interest, I would recommend this book.
  • (2/5)
    2.5 stars. I kept waiting for something exciting to happen - for the painting to be found, to discover why it was so important, etc. The characters seemed a little flat, and at times, the switching between Vienna and current day was confusing.*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.*
  • (2/5)
    This book was not what I expected based on the title. It is about two women, Rose and Lizzie, who bond over a lost piece of art. I feel Rose's story is definitely more interesting than Lizzie's, but I liked how you were able to see similarities in the two even though they are so different.The book was more about relationships than finding lost art. Also, I found the ending abrupt. The book did not hold my attention as long as I thought it would, but more than other similar type books.
  • (3/5)
    While I find no particular flaw in Umansky's writing, this book was just not quite my cup of tea. It seemed to move with glacial slowness. The characters, while well drawn, were not likable or compelling. If I met them in person, I would categorize them as simply boring. The interaction between Rose and Lizzie was mildly interesting, particularly in view of the meaning of the Soutine painting for each of them. All in all, however, I would hesitate to recommend this book to a prospective reader without express reservations about the tediousness of the book.
  • (4/5)
    I have always been drawn to books set in the WWII and Holocaust time period. That's why I chose this book to read. Knowing what happened in the big picture is atrocious and mind numbing; it is in the individual stories that we see effects on actual people, how they felt, how they coped, how they survived, or how they went to their deaths. It makes it all more 'real' and helps us understand history through the eyes of those who lived it. And hopefully to prevent it from happening again. This books jumps between the time period of WWII and the present....the link in the stories being a painting stolen by the Nazis from a Jewish family during the war. The two main characters are women who have been drawn to the painting since childhood because their mothers loved the painting, and both lost their mothers at a young age, making the painting a cherished connection to their mothers. Since both girls were young at the time of losing their moms, and the changes in their lives so dramatic, they both have trouble remember specifics about the time, and have a child's view of the events, colored by their immaturity, and the abrupt changes in their lives. They both gain insights as memories are triggered, and they see things more as they really were, and gain a new understanding of the situations that shaped their lives. I have to say I found the story line of Rose (from the WWII era) much more interesting than the story line of the modern day Lizzie. Lizzie is a rather unsettled person, from a 'broken' family , who seems to have trouble with relationships. She doesn't seem to know what she wants, and her relationship with her father (recently deceased) has been a rocky one. Rose, who was close to her family, was sent to England on the Kindertransport along with her brother, to safety, away from the coming war. Her parents weren't able to get out, but they selflessly sent their children away. What a heartbreaking time in history!! The weaving of the story between time periods was interesting, and the friendship that develops between Lizzie and Rose is, too . Both have regrets for past behaviors and decisions, but both are survivors. I do wish the character development had been a bit stronger, so you could have gotten a better feel for 'who' these women were.....but overall it was a good read! ( I received this book through Library Thing free in return for my unbiased review. )
  • (4/5)
    Great historical fiction about the Kinder-transport & stolen art from Vienna. Read it in one day.
  • (3/5)
    A special thank you to Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    This novel is about two women that are generations apart are connected by a famous Chaim Soutine painting. Umansky's debut moves from WWII to contemporary Los Angeles. In 1939, we meet Rose Zimmer who is being sent out of Austria to live with strangers in England. When the war ends, Rose is grief-stricken and seeks comfort in trying to find her mother's favourite Soutine painting but unfortunately for Rose, the painting has ended up in America.

    In modern-day LA, Lizzie Goldstein is in mourning for her recently deceased father. She carries around extreme guilt that she cannot shed; as a teenager, Lizzie threw a party at her father's house and the cherished Soutine painting that offered her comfort after her mother's death was stolen and has yet to be found.

    This work of art will bring the two women whom are seemingly adrift in their own lives, together. They forge a friendship that is marred by secrets and painful truths. Each woman is forced to examine her own life through longing, devastation, and ultimately forgiveness.

    Umansky's writing is rich and wonderful although I quickly fell out of like with Rose. There were a few spots in the plot that could've been tighter, but overall, this is a good book and I would certainly recommend it. I look forward to her next book.
  • (4/5)
    The Fortunate Ones is a pieced together story that shadows two women from different eras and walks of life. I enjoyed seeing the likenesses and bonds that link their pasts to the present.Rose Zimmer, 1939 WWII Vienna, and Lizzie Goldstein, present day los Angeles, have something precious in common. “The Bellhop” a lost Soutine painting that holds history and secrets of their families. I received a complimentary copy from LibraryThing.
  • (3/5)
    Thank you librarything.com for the advanced copy of The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky in return for my honest review.I seem to be in the minority on this one. I liked The Fortunate Ones, but I didn't love it. Chapters alternated between two main characters, Rose Zimmer, growing up in WWII Vienna, and modern-day Lizzie Goldstein. They both shared an intimate connection to a stolen painting that shaped their lives. Their stories ultimately converge.I found Rose's story to be much more substantial and engaging. While Lizzie's chapters were interesting, they were written in a way that described every detail about her, including unnecessary minutiae, which detracted from, rather than enhanced, the story. Additionally, I didn't like Lizzie very much. She seemed controlling, jealous and childish; her desire to turn every encounter with a male into a romantic one became irritating. I have read the other reviewer's opinions, and they did not find these same flaws. Don't be discouraged from reading this novel; decide for yourself.
  • (4/5)
    Forty years apart, two girls loved a painting by Soutine that each one's family owned and lost--Rose's family, to the Nazis; Lizzie's family, to a theft for which she blamed herself. Their stories, and that of the missing painting, are interwoven as the scene shifts among Vienna, Leeds, London, New York, and Los Angeles as Rose's and Lizzie's lives take them in different directions between 1936 and 2008 but ultimately entwine in friendship.Although the painting always figuratively hangs in the background, this is less a mystery of what happened to it than a story of life, death, and, between them, the interpersonal dynamics of families--parents and children, siblings, spouses and significant others. I expected more of a search for the painting, but this book did not disappoint in any way. Of particular interest is the contrast between Rose and Lizzie, each exemplifying a different generation's response to life. Highly recommended to those who enjoy reading about family relationships.
  • (4/5)
    This book tells the story of the Zimmer family, a Jewish family living in Vienna in the late 1930’s, and the parents’ decision to send little Rose and her brother to England on a kinder transport to keep them safe from the oncoming war. The children are devastated to be sent off to different households in England. They are told that it will only be for six months but of course the horrendous war lasts much longer.The Zimmer family possess a valuable painting by Chaim Soutere of a bellhop, which the mother has a particular love of. After the war when Rose is trying to deal with the grievous losses she has endured, she fixates on trying to find the painting and other family belongings that were lost or stolen by the Nazis.The missing painting finds its way to the Goldstein family in America. However, the painting is subsequently stolen during a party thrown by teenager Lizzie. Lizzie carries the guilt of that theft and likewise is searching for the painting. The loss and search for this painting forge a friendship between Lizzie and Rose and reveal painful family secrets.This is a haunting and unforgettable story of loss, love and forgiveness and the “fortunate ones” who survived the war but bear the scars. Recommended.This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    The Fortunate Ones by Ellen Umansky was an Early Reviewers book. A famous painting, The Bellhop, serves as the container for memories of lost loved ones across two generations and two continents. The Bellhop belonged to a Jewish family in Vienna as Germany invaded Austria. The son and daughter in that family were sent away on the "kindertransport" to live with foster families in Great Britain. Those children never saw there parents again. A search years later, in adulthood, to find the painting that had probably been confiscated by the Nazis by Rose, the daughter, eventually led to her meeting with Lizzie, a generation younger, who also had memories connected to the painting which had been purchased in America by her father when her mother fell in love with it. After her mother's death the painting was stolen and Lizzie, too, searched for it as a way to stay connected to her parents' memories soon after her father was killed in an automobile accident. Rose and Lizzie meet and recollections of The Bellhop unite them. I enjoyed the book. However, it can use some significant but delicate editing. The early chapters are uneven and dialogue in those chapters is weak. Midway the writing matures, as though the author wrote from someplace within. Dialogue improves as well as story line and narrative. I do recommend the book. I also hope that it gets that editing before it is released.
  • (4/5)
    I received the book as an early reviewer. I was not sure I would like the format - telling two stories that occur in different timelines but then intersect. However, I did find the story line interesting and the characters well developed and real. I thought the ending might have been a bit rushed but the book was an interesting read and offered insights into the experience of loss and how individuals react in unique ways to what life presents.
  • (3/5)
    In The Fortunate Ones, we get the story of Rose Zimmer whose parents send her and her brother to live with separate families in England to keep them safe from the war in 1939 Vienna.We also get the story of Lizzie Goldstein, a newly single woman grieving her father in the year 2006.What connects Rose and Lizzie is a painting called The Bellhop by Chaim Soutine. Both of them had the painting in their childhood homes, and both of them had it taken from them.The women have Lizzie's father in common and they meet after his death, taking walks and visiting museums. Rose is prickly and well educated. She lets Lizzie know how much her father loved her, and Lizzie learns a lot from Rose.Though Rose's story is the more interesting one (perhaps due to the time period and the struggles it brought), Lizzie's struggle with loneliness and her desire for a child are relatable and endearing. I enjoyed the dynamic between Rose and Lizzie. The responsibility Rose felt for her parents in her youth, and the guilt Lizzie carries over the consequences of a party she threw as a teen are both poignant and relatable.All in all, I enjoyed The Fortunate Ones, though it is more a book one reads on the bus or in a waiting room, rather than the kind that is a page turner.
  • (3/5)
    Valuables including the Impressionistic painting, The Bellhop, were looted from the Viennese family of Rose Barnes (née Zimmer) for Nazi coffers. For many years after the war Rose searched for the painting, hoping that it would resurface. Eventually her search led to Joseph Goldstein, a Los Angeles doctor, whose family later owned the painting only to have it disappear again in the mid 80s.Lizzie, Joseph’s daughter, returns to her childhood home in Los Angeles after his sudden death. Now a 37 year-old attorney, she has lived with feelings of guilt from her part in the disappearance of her father’s painting, taken during a party she held at his house when she was 17. After his funeral she meets the blunt, but kind, Rose who is later mentioned in Joseph’s will. Lizzie and Rose share a common desire to discover what happened to the painting that was linked to each family. Both of these intense and bright women struggle with setting aside the past. They begin a tentative connection in their search for the whereabouts of The Bellhop, forging a relationship while sharing bits of their past. The plot unfolds through chapters set in different time frames from the 30s to the present time. I particularly liked the portion of Rose’s story that brings to light the transports of Jewish children to England before war broke out in Austria, children kept safe but away from their parents, country and language. The book suffers from some looseness of plot but is nevertheless a good read.
  • (4/5)
    Rose Zimmer is sent away to England on a "kindertransport" train for her own safety during the early days of WWII. Her brother is also sent away, but the siblings are separated. After the war, Rose's parents are lost, but Rose decides to hunt for a Chaim Poutine painting ("The Bellhop") that hung in their apartment.Decades later, Lizzie Goldstein's father Joseph dies in a car wreck, and Lizzie comes home to his house to settle his affairs. Twenty years earlier, Lizzie had thrown an unauthorized party in the house, where her father had hung the very same painting, and the artwork is stolen during the party. The story is told via alternating chapters showing Rose as she becomes an adult in London, and Lizzie as she mourns the loss of her father (and the painting -- she felt enormous guilt for the theft). Ultimately, Rose and Lizzie meet at Joseph's funeral. I loved the descriptions of Rose's post-war life in London and of Lizzie taking charge of her own life without a man [she seems to attract "the wrong kind of guy"], even though Rose's experiences make Lizzie's seem trivial. Both women ultimately learn how to deal with the guilt of their respective pasts, and -- of course -- resolve the issue of the Poutine.
  • (3/5)
    Just another chick lit book. There really isn't anything about this one to set it apart from any other.
  • (4/5)
    The Fortunate Ones was a very different book than I thought I was going to be reading. I love art and art mysteries so I was geared up to read that type of book. Instead, The Fortunate Ones is more a tale of loss, family bonds, and betrayal with a side story about a painting. While it was not what I was initially hoping for, I did like the book and felt that it was both entertaining and well-written. The story takes place in two time periods, Europe in the 1930’s and 1940’s and Los Angeles in the 2000’s. I much preferred the story involving Rose Zimmer in the 1930’s and 1940’s. As her story begins, Rose and her brother Gerhard are living in Austria with her parents. They are Jewish, and Hitler is preparing to annex Austria. Her forward-thinking parents secure passage for their children to England on a kindertransport to save them from Hitler’s reign. After the war is over, Rose spends years trying to determine what happened to her parents and their belongings, particularly her mother’s favorite painting, The Bellhop. The second story takes place in Los Angeles in the 2000’s. Lizzie Goldstein has returned home for her father’s funeral. At the funeral, she meets Rose who now lives in L.A. Years previously, The Bellhop was purchased by Lizzie’s dad and subsequently stolen on Lizzie’s watch. Lizzie and Rose develop a friendship that leads Lizzie to discover devastating secrets about her family. Lizzie is a tough character to like; she is very needy and insecure. As her friendship with Rose blossoms, Lizzie becomes somewhat more likeable, but I felt generally like she detracted from the second story line.Ellen Umansky’s portrayal of Rose’s experience after the war and finally learning what terrible ends so many European Jews including her parents met was very powerful. While any reader today already knows the horrific things that happened to so many Jewish people at the hands of Hitler and his thugs, the author very effectively conveyed how it would have unfolded for Rose and many others as they slowly and painfully learned what happened to their family members and friends. This part of the story has stayed with me – I am still thinking about how truly unbelievable it must have been to learn that about the unthinkable and tragic treatment and abuse of relatives and friends.I enjoyed reading The Fortunate Ones. Thanks to LibraryThing for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.