Barren Island by Carol Zoref audiobook

Barren Island

By Carol Zoref
Read by Elizabeth Wiley

Tantor Audio 9781936970445
13.31 Hours 1
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How does one remember a world that literally no longer exists? How do the moral imperatives to do so correspond to the personal needs that make it possible? Told from the point-of-view of Marta Eisenstein Lane on the occasion of her eightieth birthday, Barren Island is the story of a factory island in New York's Jamaica Bay, where the city's dead horses and other large animals were rendered into glue and fertilizer from the mid-nineteenth century until the 1930s. The island itself is as central to the story as the members of the Jewish, Greek, Italian, Irish, and African-American factory families that inhabit it, including those who live their entire lives steeped in the smell of burning animal flesh. The story begins with the arrival of the Eisenstein family, immigrants from Eastern Europe, and explores how the political and social upheavals of the 1930s affect them and their neighbors in the years between the stock market crash of October 1929 and the start of World War II ten years later. Labor strife, union riots, the New Deal, the World's Fair, and the struggle to save European Jews from the growing threat of Nazi terror inform this novel as much as the explosion of civil and social liberties between the two World Wars.

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Summary

Summary

How does one remember a world that literally no longer exists? How do the moral imperatives to do so correspond to the personal needs that make it possible? Told from the point-of-view of Marta Eisenstein Lane on the occasion of her eightieth birthday, Barren Island is the story of a factory island in New York's Jamaica Bay, where the city's dead horses and other large animals were rendered into glue and fertilizer from the mid-nineteenth century until the 1930s. The island itself is as central to the story as the members of the Jewish, Greek, Italian, Irish, and African-American factory families that inhabit it, including those who live their entire lives steeped in the smell of burning animal flesh.

The story begins with the arrival of the Eisenstein family, immigrants from Eastern Europe, and explores how the political and social upheavals of the 1930s affect them and their neighbors in the years between the stock market crash of October 1929 and the start of World War II ten years later. Labor strife, union riots, the New Deal, the World's Fair, and the struggle to save European Jews from the growing threat of Nazi terror inform this novel as much as the explosion of civil and social liberties between the two World Wars.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“What’s extraordinary about Barren Island isn’t just its wild corner of history—a shoal off the shores of Brooklyn, whose factory boils down animal carcasses for ‘glue and grease’—but its remarkable imagining of the lives of families there. At its center is a resourceful young girl coming of age, and the novel does what only fiction can do—it presents the human intricacies we could hardly guess. An amazing piece of work.” Joan Silber, National Book Award Finalist
“Rich with family, friendship, romance and incipient moral consciousness.” Melvin Jules Bukiet, author of After and Strange Fire
“Richly atmospheric and deeply tender, Barren Island is a thought-provoking pleasure.” Brian Morton, author of Starting Out in the Evening
“Does what only fiction can do—it presents the human intricacies we could hardly guess. An amazing piece of work.” Joan Silber, National Book Award Finalist

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Carol Zoref

Author Bio: Carol Zoref Carol Zoref is a fiction writer and essayist. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and New York University. She lives in New York City.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 13.31
Audience: Adult
Language: English