Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots by Jessica Soffer


Lorca 
 "I was pretending to read the paper. I thought that if I didn't say anything, my mother might stop glaring at me, burning a hole in my face. 
I was home from school. I'd been sent home. 
And though I hadn't gotten myself caught on purpose, as soon as Principal Hidalgo said "suspended" my first thought was of my mother waking to the smell of homemade croissants. I'd be in an apron, piling the hot pastries high in a breadbasket, just beside the cranberry-sage brown butter I'd whipped up. I was suddenly happy, hopeful, thinking of the time we could spend together."

So begins Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots  by Jessica Soffer, a new novel which releases today. I requested an uncorrected proof from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley based upon the following description:
Two women adrift in New York—an Iraqi Jewish widow and the latchkey daughter of a chef—find each other, solace, and a new kind of family through their shared love of cooking. 
Lorca spends hours poring over cookbooks, seeking out ingredients for her distracted chef of a mother, who is about to send her off to boarding school. In one last effort to secure her mother’s love and prove herself indispensable, Lorca resolves to replicate her mother’s ideal meal, an obscure dish called masgouf. 
Victoria, an Iraqi-Jewish immigrant, teaches cooking lessons; Lorca signs up. Grappling with grief over her husband’s passing, Victoria has been dreaming of the daughter they gave up forty years ago. 
Together these two women — a widow and an almost-orphan — begin to suspect they are connected through more than a love of food. In these lessons and their separate investigations, they will be forced to reckon with the past, the future, and the truth — however complicated and unimaginable it might be. 
Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is a novel of loss, remembrance, and revival. It is the heartrending, heartwarming story of two cast-off characters who find in each other a way of accepting the people we are meant to love-- even ourselves.

So, what did I think?

This sure sounded like a novel I'd love. However, early on, I discovered that Lorca is a "cutter". I have a strong aversion to reading books with this type of character, and would not have requested this one had I known beforehand.

Since it was a review book, I persevered through the first third of the novel. The story was enjoyable (especially the food and cooking angle) and I had no problem with the writing, but the self-mutilation was too much for me - I could not continue. I have an idea how these characters might eventually resolve their issues, and look forward to chatting with someone who has finished the book.

Although I was clearly not the right reader for Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots, if you enjoy novels told from alternating perspectives or stories with a strong emphasis on food and have no problem reading about "cutters", you just might be. The early reviews look promising.

32 comments:

  1. I was intrigued by this when I saw it in your sidebar, and your excerpt would have made that certain, but I don't think it's for me either. Good to know, with the press of other books waiting!

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    1. Audrey - Not sure why that stuff bother me so much, but if you're even a little hesitant I'd move on to the next book in the queue.

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    1. Harvee - The fist third is definitely emotional.

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  3. I liked this book -- the food references made up for the self-harm (she was more than a cutter). But the book won't make my top ten for the year. I reviewed the book for AudioFile -- the narration was really good, and I'm sure that's what kept me engaged.

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    1. Beth F - I'll be sure to look for your review. There were also issues with the kindle formatting, so that made it even easier for me to set aside.

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  4. I saw a review of this one in my Oprah magazine that came yesterday....and I was intrigued. I like that opener. And I don't mind cutters...I worked with a few of them in my social work practice over the years.

    I'll be adding it to my list. Thanks for visiting my blog...and I didn't start at the beginning of the Monaghan series...I started with The Girl in the Green Raincoat. But that one drew me in. So now I'll be reading more.

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - With your background and familiarity with the 'type, I'm sure it wouldn't bother you as much.

      I read The Girl in the Green Raincoat earlier this year and enjoyed it, but felt like I was missing out on a lot of history. I'd like to read Baltimore Blues (think that's the first one) at some point.

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  5. The introduction drew me in...I would keep reading.

    My Tuesday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2013/04/first-chapter-first-paragraph-9-and.html

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    1. Catherine - It's a very compelling story.

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  6. This description sounds good! I'm going to put this on my tbr list. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  7. I think this story sounds very interesting. I think it will be very good. I'd keep reading. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

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    1. Kelley - You might really enjoy this one!

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  8. This sounds interesting... and very contemporary. Also, as I looked at the bottom of your post, I saw your review of James Joyce's The Dead. Instead of leaving a comment there, maybe I'll share it here. I'd the same feeling as I read Dubliners, at first I was a bit apprehensive, but as I went through it I really enjoyed the literary style and the stories. Which is just about how I'm feeling now reading Proust. ;)

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    1. Arti - I've felt that with Dubliners, too, as I read one of the stories every few months. You've almost convinced me to give Proust a try ;-)

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  9. The cover is certainly enticing and I love the cooking aspect. I might be able to overlook the more negative parts of the book if it was really worth it.

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    1. Anbolyn - The cover is what initially drew my attention, and I can't resist a cooking story. Too bad I'm such a wimp when it comes to cutting.

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  10. I was offered the book too and was severely tempted. I love the title, cover, summary and opening paragraph. Something told me I might not want to stick with it. So, based on your experience, I'm glad I didn't even start the book..

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    1. Margot - This book just seems to have everything going for it... except for that one thing. Too bad.

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  11. Hmmm. See I guess I don't really have a huge aversion to cutting...I mean it is horrible, but I can get past it. Especially if there is food. I still need to go back and read Beth Fish's review, but I may try to get it on audio.

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    1. Sandy - You just might be the ideal reader for this book!

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  12. Ohhh, I wasn't ware of the cutting aspect either. I have the eGalley as well.

    I DO like that intro though JoAnn. Sorry it did not work out for you.

    Thanks for joining us Joann.

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    1. Diane - If the self-harming aspect isn't an issue, you might enjoy this one.

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  13. I was tempted by this one because of one of the narrators, not sure yet.

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    1. Nise' - You might enjoy this one :-)

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  14. I think I would be able to finish this one. I liked the intro, so I will be looking for it at my library in the future!

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    1. Staci - I heard (from Beth F) that the audio is good, too.

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  15. I love the intro and already reserved the book before I finished reading your take on it. I think I'll try it. Here's Mine

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    1. Paulita - I hope you enjoy it... will keep an eye out for your review.

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  16. I'm concerned about the cutting aspect of this book; it may strict too close to home. I just read Beth Fish's review and I had a problem with the idea that you have a kid who is doing this and the solution is to send them to a boarding school. That actually makes me quite angry and I'm not sure that's a good way to go into a book.

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    1. Lisa - Yeah, the idea of shipping her off to boarding school rather than dealing with problems at home really bothered me, too. This might not be the book for you either...

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