336 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.75 in
September 1, 2005
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0618618805
ISBN - 13: 9780618618804
Read from the Book
Chapter 1In 1935, when I was just eighteen, I entered the household of Rudolf Mitwisser, the scholar of Karaism. "The scholar of Karaism"- at that time I had no idea what that meant, or why it should be "the" instead of "a," or who Rudolf Mitwisser was. I understood only that he was the father of what seemed to be numerous children, and that he had come from Germany two years before. I knew these things from an advertisement in the Albany Star:Professor, arrived 1933 Berlin, children 3-14, requires assistant, relocate NYC. Respond Mitwisser, 22 Westerley.It read like a telegram; Professor Mitwisser, I would soon learn, was parsimonious. The ad did not mention Elsa, his wife. Possibly he had forgotten about her.In my letter of reply I said that I would be willing to go to New York, though it was not clear from the notice in the Star what sort of assistance was needed. Since the ad had included the age of a very young child, was it a nanny that was desired?I said I would be pleased to take on the job of nanny.It was Elsa, not Mitwisser, who initiated the interview-though, as it turned out, she was not in charge of it. In that family she was in charge of little enough. I rode the bus to a corner populated by a cluster of small shabby stores-grocery, shoemaker's, dry cleaner's, and under a tattered awning a dim coffee shop vomiting out odors of some foul stuff frying.The windows of all these establishments were impenetrably dirty. Across the street a deserted gas station had lon
From the Publisher
Cynthia Ozick is an American master at the height of her powers in Heir to the Glimmering World, a grand romantic novel of desire, fame, fanaticism, and unimaginable reversals of fortune. Ozick takes us to the outskirts of the Bronx in the 1930s, as New York fills with Europe's ousted dreamers, turned overnight into refugees.
Rose Meadows unknowingly enters this world when she answers an ambiguous want ad for an "assistant" to a Herr Mitwisser, the patriarch of a large, chaotic household. Rosie, orphaned at eighteen, has been living with her distant relative Bertram, who sparks her first erotic desires. But just as he begins to return her affection, his lover, a radical socialist named Ninel (Lenin spelled backward), turns her out.
And so Rosie takes refuge from love among refugees of world upheaval. Cast out from Berlin's elite, the Mitwissers live at the whim of a mysterious benefactor, James A'Bair. Professor Mitwisser is a terrifying figure, obsessed with his arcane research. His distraught wife, Elsa, once a prominent physicist, is becoming unhinged. Their willful sixteen-year-old daughter runs the household: the exquisite, enigmatic Anneliese. Rosie's place here is uncertain, and she finds her fate hanging on the arrival of James. Inspired by the real Christopher Robin, James is the Bear Boy, the son of a famous children's author who recreated James as the fanciful subject of his books. Also a kind of refugee, James runs from his own fame, a boy adored by the world but grown into a bitter man. It is Anneliese's fierce longing that draws James back to this troubled house, and it is Rosie who must help them all resist James's reckless orbit.
Ozick lovingly evokes these perpetual outsiders thrown together by surprising chance. The hard times they inherit still hold glimmers of past hopes and future dreams. Heir to the Glimmering World is a generous delight.
About the Author
CYNTHIA OZICK is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have won four O. Henry first prizes.
Perhaps the fullest treatment yet of the European intellectual's flight from Hitler's Germany...one of Ozick's most interesting [works].
Kirkus Reviews, Starred
"Audacious. . .[A] brilliant apostrophe to shattered worlds." --John Leonard The New York Times Book Review
"In language aglow with fierce wit and passionate intensity. . .[Ozick's book] has all the hallmarks of a permanent work of literature." --Merle Rubin The Wall Street Journal
"A novel as scintillating as this one makes the world infinitely new..." --James Marcus Newsday
"A wise, quietly magical book." --James Sallis.
The Washington Post