The Hacienda

“The house hated this charade of normalcy.  Its loathing seeped thought he walls, tangible and thick as mud.  I waded through it as I followed the guests from dining room to parlor for nightcaps in a haze; everything moved too slowly, dragged but the thickness of the cold, the weight of the house’s watching.”

The Netanyahus

WINNER OF THE 2022 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION

2021 NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD WINNER

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2021

A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST BOOK OF 2021

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“I am a Jewish historian, but I am not a historian of the Jews,”

One Two Three

“There are so many people who have sinned a little and a lot.  There are so many people who deserve the blame.  But that means there is never anyone whose responsibility it is to take responsibility.  There is no one who must make it right, no one who must make amends.  There is so much, therefore, that stays wrong and unmended.”

Cuba: An American History

“Such sentiments exemplified the long-standing impasse in Cubans’ and Americans’ understanding of their shared history.  And the two interpretations could not have been more at odds.  What Americans saw as an act of selfless benevolence, Cubans saw as an act of colonial imposition.  That antagonism mattered now more than ever, for it was precisely the colonial relationship between the United States and Cuba that the revolution was beginning to challenge.  Unable to perceive that relationship as a colonial one, Americans were at a loss to understand what was happening in Cuba and quick to perceive all of it as naive ingratitude, at best, and outright communism, at worst.”

Sea of Tranquility

” ‘-and my point is, there’s always something. I think, as a species, we have a desire to believe that we’re living at the climax of the story. It’s a kind of narcissism. We want to believe that we’re uniquely important, that we’re living at the end of history, that now, after all these millennia of false alarms, now is finally the worst that it’s ever been, that finally we have reached the end of the world.’ “

Black Bear Lake

“A symphony of crying toddlers, barking dogs, suitcase zippers, and children calling in search of misplaced swimsuits floated out from the various cabins I passed while running to the top of the blue stone pathway.  I did not stop to greet my extended family.  I would have time later to answer questions about my schoolwork, my growth spurt, and whether I’d found a girlfriend.”

Mary Jane

“My mother, who had known everything about me since birth- what I ate, when I slept, who my friends were, what music I listened to, and what books I read- suddenly had a stranger at her table.  But I was the only one who was aware of the change.”

These Precious Days

“I was struck by how often the lessons we learn when we’re young, the things we could never imagine needing, make it possible to meet what life will ask of us later.”

French Braid

“That’s how families work, too. You think you’re free of them, but you’re never really free; the ripples are crimped in forever.”

The Family Chao

“But doesn’t every family have its own closed windows and closed doors?  Isn’t every family a walled fortress of stories unknown even to its neighbors? “