The guilt of a terrible decision haunts this vivid portrayal of one woman’s life, which invokes turn-of-the-century rural Poland, post-war New York, and a present day nursing home. In this incredible debut, twenty-five-year-old Marisa Kantor Stark captures the voice of ninety-two-year-old Maime with perfect pitch.
Maime grew up in a world marked by religious ritual and strong family ties. Always a fighter, she persevered in a troubled marriage, survived the Holocaust by hiding in a root cellar, and met the daunting challenge of starting over again in America. Yet as her narrative alternates between her memories of the past and her feelings of abandonment in the present, Maime struggles to come to grips with an awful moment unfairly forced on her by history. Bring Us the Old People is a powerful mediation on the weight of the past, the force of circumstance, the limits of choice, and the cost of survival.
“The most impressive aspect of the novel . . . is Maime’s voice and how beautifully consistent it is. . . . It is the voice of the modern world, its horrors and triumphs . . . of one who has seen the worst that humanity is capable of, and on a small scale, the best, and has lived to tell the tale.” —Russell Banks
“Maime’s flashes of insight into the power of love, the certainty of death, the challenges of aging, and the capacity of human beings for moral choice enliven her. . . . Stark’s lonely heroine becomes an unforgettable figure as she sums up a life endured with stoic dignity.” —Publishers Weekly
Finalist, National Jewish Book Award
Bronze Finalist, ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award