An Almost Perfect Moment
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
In Brooklyn, in the Age of Disco, Valentine Kessler -- a sweet Jewish girl who bears a remarkable resemblance to the Virgin Mary of Lourdes -- has an unerring gift for shattering the dreams and hopes of those who love her. Miriam, her long-suffering mother, betrayed and anguished by the husband she adores, seeks solace in daily games of mah-jongg with The Girls, a cross between a Greek Chorus and Brooklyn's rendition of the Three Wise Men, who dispense advice, predictions, and care in the form of poppy-seed cake and apple strudels. When her greatest fear for Valentine is realized, Miriam takes comfort in the thought that it couldn't get any worse. And then it does.
Sagacious, sorrowful, and hilarious, An Almost Perfect Moment is a novel about mothers and daughters, star-crossed lovers, doctrines of the divine, and a colorful Jewish community that once defined Brooklyn. This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
wonderful book! An Almost Perfect Moment is a perfect gem.” —A. Manette Ansay, author of Limbo and Midnight Champagne “Rapture, longing, troubled faith, cruelty, contradiction, regret, and kindness—An Almost Perfect Moment captures the strange and strangely common secrets that hold families together. Binnie Kirshenbaum’s terrific novel is seemingly effortless, big-hearted, crushingly insightful, and joyfully readable.” —Ben Marcus, author of Notable American Women Also by Binnie
the prophet. The reminder of Ronald made for a pall hanging over the Seder as surely as a black cloth is draped over the mirror while sitting shivah, and Miriam felt a chill as if death were nearby. She chided herself for being a sentimental fool. It’s that empty place setting, getting to me. But to remove the fifth plate, to put it away in the cabinet, would reveal more to her family than Miriam was willing to let on. So it stayed and so she would live with it. John Wosileski stood at the
had never been there at all, or not for many years. Some older boys, they looked to be college age, were shooting hoops on the basketball court, laughing it up, slapping palms. Friends. Buddies. Pals. They were. And Joanne Clarke had to ask herself how was it that she had no friends. None at all. Not one. She’d placed the blame for that, for having no friends, at her father’s feet. Caring for him had taken up all her free time. Even before he went senile, she had to cook him dinner and keep the
had ever been. It was lucky for John Wosileski that Mrs. Landau was a compassionate woman, and it was lucky for him that this situation arose these many years before issues of sexual harassment and child molestation took center stage in the theater of social ills. If this had happened in, say, 1995, no matter what sort of person Mrs. Landau had been, John Wosileski would’ve been crucified. Rather than getting him fired from his job and then fed to the tabloids, Mrs. Landau picked up the letter
Ronald Kessler. Dreams Miriam once had had for herself were now pinned on Valentine, passed on to her daughter, as if hope were a baton or a pearl necklace. John Wosileski was itching to ask Valentine what did she do on evenings and weekends, once her homework was done. Did she have a boyfriend, and if so, then who was the surely unworthy but abundantly fortunate vulgarian? No teenage boy was good enough for Valentine Kessler. Still, Mr. Wosileski would’ve bet his bottom dollar that Valentine