A novel about a Holocaust survivor’s daughter living in the present, not the past
I have been waiting for a novel like „Days of Awe“ by Lauren Fox for a long time. Finally, an author dares to portray the daughter of a Holocaust survivor as a person whose life is multi-faceted, and only one of these facets is the trauma experienced by her family. In fact, Izzy, the second generation narrator, at 43 struggles to keep her worn-out life as wife, mother and confidante from falling apart much the same way as other women might do, that is, with a healthy mixture of longing to be truly seen, a pinch of dark humor and some self-loathing.
Three generations of women
Yet, “Days of Awe” is not just about Izzy. Rather, as Izzy manages to barely stay afloat after the tragic death of her spunky best friend and the disintegration of her marriage, she also introduces us to two other unique women. There is delicate Helene, the child survivor, with her endearing love for her family and her life mantra “The worst has already happened to us!” Hannah, on the other hand, is Izzy’s pre-teenage daughter and the best that has ever happened to them. Fortunately, Hannah finds a way to navigate clear of the burden this entails. Hannah stays true to herself, one moment learning to crochet from Helene to make Izzy a hat, only to despise her mother for “never getting it right” a few hours later.
Never giving up
Eventually, Izzy who had once been driven by the wish “to add another X in the happiness column of [Helene’s] complicated life” starts to accept that life can be good, even when it is not filled with happiness all the time, that nobody is ever who they seem to be and that some people deserve a second chance, most importantly Izzy herself.
Is „Days of Awe“ the right novel for you?
If you found Ruth Rothwax and her father Edek in Lilly Brett’s “You Gotta have Balls”, intriguing, but could never really fall in love with them because life in New York, working as a writer and a father who acts rather unrealistically are just not things you can relate to, then “Days of Awe” is for you. Izzy, the elementary teacher from Milwaukee, could be your next door neighbor, or even you, with dry humor and a bit of Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones in “Mad About the Boy” mixed in.
N.B.: Don’t forget to clear your calendar once you have gotten yourself a copy of “Days of Awe”. You will have a hard time leaving it unfinished on your bedside table.
Interested in Lauren Fox and her other writing?
After I had finished „Days of Awe“ I wanted to know more about how the book came about. Here you can read Lauren Fox’s answers.
In „Every Breath Amazing“ Lauren Fox describes her feelings upon discovering the Stumbling Stones that had been laid for her murdered relatives in Germany.
Lauren Fox explains how she realized that by „marrying out“ of the Jewish faith she was not betraying her family who had experienced persecution for religious reasons in „When a Relationship Carries the Weight of History“.