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Lilian Nattel

Autor(a) de The River Midnight

6 Works 655 Membros 19 Críticas 2 Favorited

About the Author

Lilian Nattel was born and raised in Montreal. Her family emigrated from Poland, their history lost in prewar memory. Reinventing this history, she has rewoven the broken threads with years of research. Nattel's short stories have been anthologized, and she has been awarded grants by the Canada mostrar mais Council and the Ontario Arts Council. She now lives in Toronto. mostrar menos

Obras por Lilian Nattel

The River Midnight (1998) 436 exemplares
The Singing Fire (1872) 145 exemplares
Web of Angels (2012) 49 exemplares
Girl at the Edge of Sky (2019) 12 exemplares
Only Sisters (2022) 12 exemplares
The Singing Fire 1 exemplar


Conhecimento Comum

Nome legal
Nattel, Lilian
Data de nascimento
Locais de residência
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Montréal, Québec, Canada

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Lilian Nattel is the mom of 2 amazing daughters and the spouse of a great guy who cooks. Her oldest friend remembers her telling stories as young as 5, but she didn't decide to be a writer until she was 10, when she discovered that not all authors were dead. She collects stories of late bloomers. Her themes are redemption and the importance of friendship in women's lives. She sees literature as a partnership between author and reader. The author puts her vision on the page and the reader brings to it personal perceptions, experiences and insight. Together author and reader create a new book with each reading. And this journey together can continue through the wonders of the internet.



An utterly immersive novel about the intertwining lives of two sisters: Joan is careful and the Vivian is larger than life. Joan's life is transformed when she has to fulfill her sister's dying request. The characters are so precisely real that the novel reads like a memoir. A beautiful book.
mskrypuch | Sep 25, 2023 |
I loved parts of this; parts were confusing. Set in a Jewish shtetl in the late 1900's, this is really a story of the connection between women: friends, sisters, mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters. This is also a story of life in a tradition bound small village in Poland and the intimate lives that live there. Four girls grew up together and were best of friends. Now, as grown women, they are leading separate lives. One is married to a butcher and unhappily seems unable to bear children. Another forsaking her education, married young and now has many children. One left for America with her husband but has died there leaving a son and daughter who return to Blaszka, their mother's village. The other, Misha, has divorced her husband, lives alone and serves as a midwife (and herbal healer) to the village.

Even living their separate lives, they cannot become unconnected. As Misha turns up pregnant, there is mystery as to who the father is. Emma, the young girl born in America, returns to the village with worldly ideas of freedom and scorns the traditions of the village. There are a number of male characters whose lives affect the women. Berekh is a young rabbi and the probable father of Misha's child. Yarush is a horrible, cruel thief who could also be the father because of rape.

There is an element of the supernatural intertwined. I was never able to figure to quite get the idea of the "Director" and the "Traveler" who appear in several different chapters. I'm just not a fan of the mystical and this led to a lesser rating. However, I loved the ending of the book and the imagery of the river midnight under the ground that ties us together.
… (mais)
maryreinert | 7 outras críticas | Nov 30, 2018 |
Set in a shtetl in Russian occupied Poland during the late 1800s, this is a story told multiple times. The action takes place over a year’s time (with both flashbacks and glimpses of the future, too); first it’s told from the viewpoint of the women of the village, then again from the men’s POV, then finally from the view of the main character, Misha, the shtetl midwife and herbalist. While the whole village is part of the story, the backbone of it follows the pregnancy of Misha, ended with her giving birth.

The story focuses on four women. As young girls, they were nicknamed the vilda hayas, the wild creatures, because they ran wild through the forest and the village. They had great plans. But in the end, one emigrated to America and died, leaving two children; one ran her husband’s business brilliantly but never had a child; one had too many children; and the fourth was Misha, who did not have a husband but was pregnant, had one divorce, still wore her hair loose, and knew all the secrets of the shtetl.

Each telling brings the story and the people more into focus, like watching an old interlaced GIF download years ago. While we find out what happened in the first telling, by the end of the third telling we know *why* the things happened. Hard things happen; children are orphaned, a young girl goes to jail, an unspeakable crime takes place. But it’s still a story of joy; their sect of Judaism asks them to look for joy, to help each other, to let no one starve.

Nattel brings the shtetl to life with her writing. From the houses with the chickens roosting in the hallways, to the herbs that Misha gathers and stores, to the way that religion permeates every aspect of the villager’s lives, it’s all described in loving prose. The love and friendship that binds them together is warm and alive; the story is like a tapestry with a million details. While the pace is moderate to slow, I love this book. It has a touch of magical realism and a lot of life.
… (mais)
lauriebrown54 | 7 outras críticas | Jun 9, 2016 |
The River Midnight tells the story of a Shtetl in Poland using 4 women friends, the "Vilda Chayas" (wild animals, a nickname they received as children because they were mischievous) as the main characters. Easy to see this novel as a play with a number of acts in which each main character and sub-characters move the simple plot forward.

Hard to believe a poor Jewish hamlet could contain so much depth and wisdom about women's strengths, hidden or otherwise, spirituality and belief in G-d, loyalty, innocence, anger and violence, birth and death, education and ignorance. These 4 women care deeply about their families, neighbors, the town and do everything in their power to help each other whether giving charity to those without enough to eat, praying, herbal preparations, advice or love. They are not perfect but understand how they all need each other.

I love Nattel's capable use of magical realism, the river as purifier, gossip and humor to create a wonder of a world fraught with danger but filled with life and fulfillment.

Well done!
… (mais)
Bookish59 | 7 outras críticas | Aug 11, 2015 |



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