The War at Home
Lucy Lehman has a secret. Everybody loves her eccentric family but nobody
knows what’s really going on. Her mother is a respected dance
teacher, able to calm the most incorrigible delinquents in the Bronx. Her
father, just returned from WW2, is a working class hero. On a good night
they’ll eat pickles and marshmallows for dinner, do the dishes in the tub
while the kids are taking a bath and sing old labor songs. But on a bad
night, when dad comes home in one of his dark moods and mom retreats to
her bed, surrounded by the empty bottles of pills she’s charmed out of
neighborhood pharmacists, the insults fly along with the
Told with wit, understanding, and remarkable pluck, The War at Home is an autobiographical novel in the tradition of The Liar’s Club, in which insanity is the norm and an inseparable brother and sister thrive in spite of the terrifying household created by their parents.
The War At Home evokes the lost world of New York City in the 1950’s, where apartment houses tower over abandoned orchards, lonely kids roam the woods of Bronx Park unafraid, and the Bronx River ripples with the hope of Huckleberry Finn's Mississippi.
Thrillingly well-crafted. A brilliant
—Robert Olen Butler
"This is a profoundly moving and intelligent evocation of the magnificent terrors of family life, the ones that bind us to childhood forever: beautifully written, deeply felt."
"The War at Home is a novel of a child's brave journey
though family madness, war and peace. Nora Eisenberg suffuses this
story with the haunting immediacy of a first-rate memoir. The time is the
late forties and fifties. The landscape is the Bronx, whose parks and
gardens are mythicized as romantically as Bronte's English moors. This is
an original, startling, and compelling
Nora Eisenberg is a Professor of English at the City University of New York (LaGuardia). Her work has appeared in The Partisan Review, The Village Voice Literary Supplement, Choice and Tikkun. She is the co-author of four popular books on writing, most recently The Questioning Reader (Allyn & Bacon, 2001). She lives in Manhattan.