|See also:||Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor's Journey (autobiographical)|
Leonore H. Dvorkin
Create Space, 2010, ISBN 978-1449976279
(Click on the above image for a larger picture of the cover.)
Cover photo of Bear Creek, in southwest Denver, by Leonore H.
Dvorkin, © 2009
| "A brilliant first novel, thoroughly evolved and gorgeously
- Alan Rodgers, author of Fire and Night
"Dvorkin writes with confidence and clarity."
- J. Mathew Nespoli, Naked Book Reviews
"Gripping and powerful."
- Community News, Denver (Click here for full review.)
The novel is set in 1967 and 1968, first in Mobile, Alabama and then at Indiana University in Bloomington. However, the story is in no way a 1960s political novel. Vietnam barely gets mentioned. The themes are infidelity, sibling rivalry, deception, self-deception, separation, and miscommunication.
The two main characters are Elizabeth Nye, a 20-year-old German major, and Brian Petersen, the 27-year-old history teaching assistant with whom she has a five-week affair while she's temporarily separated from her liberal-minded fiancé, Alan Abrams.Elizabeth is dishonest and selfish while Brian is naive and idealistic, but virtually no one in this story is either all good or all bad. That's what makes them people rather than stereotypes.
Minor and cameo characters include Elizabeth's self-indulgent academic father, her sexy younger sister, a not-so-merry widowed neighbor, Brian's excessively beloved older sister, his pined-after lost love, that woman's life-hardened lesbian roommate, and a gay friend of Elizabeth's.
The narrative technique involves the use of several different points of view. A given scene may allow the reader to see the same action from starkly contrasting points of view. This reinforces the overarching theme of the book, which is the unending difficulty of human communication.
Elizabeth Nye becomes engaged in a torrid affair while separated from her fiancé. This affair leads her into a tangle of lies and interesting situations. Without giving too much away I will just tell you that the book is about relationships and infidelity, sibling rivalries, familial tensions, and the concept of generational dysfunction.
Dvorkin writes with the confidence and clarity of someone who has lived this story. Her characters, especially Elizabeth, felt real, her personality jumping off the page. Her dialogue comes across naturally, which not all writers, even the most famous of them, do with such ease. Even more impressive is the poetic descriptive narrative. She uses the perfect amount, but refrains from going overboard and lulling the reader to sleep with poetic prose like so many artists do, getting caught up in their own egos, unwilling to stop typing and let the story just tell itself. Dvorkin does not suffer from this problem.
I'd definitely recommend this as a read for anyone who enjoys love stories and coming of age stories. I wouldn’t put this novel into any specific genre, because it did a good job of avoiding clichés.
- Joseph Mathew Nespoli, www.nakedwordsurfer.com
I found Apart From You an intriguing story that touched on many of my most cherished values, especially those concerning relationships, love, and commitment. Because of a major decision by one of the main characters to justify a sexual relationship with a college friend while trying to also maintain a future relationship with her liberal fiance, tremendous pain and suffering is experienced by all three individuals involved in this unique love triangle. The pain is especially true for the college friend who eventually has to deal with the fact that he was completely misled. Leonore does an excellent job of making these complicated situations seem so real. Surprisingly, the story ends with tremendous hope and personal growth amid all the negativity. I put the book down feeling that life, at times, really is good. Congratulations, Leonore, on an excellent and moving first novel. I am a better person for having read it.- J. Gold (posted as "Anonymous" on Barnes and Noble, July 1, 2010)
Thanks for reading all of this. I appreciate your interest.