When the World Was Young

When the World Was Young

A Novel

eBook - 2014
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Wally Baker is no ordinary girl. Living in her grandparents' Brooklyn Heights brownstone, she doesn't like dresses, needlepoint, or manners. Her love of Wonder Woman comics and ants makes her feel like a misfit'especially in the shadow of her dazzling but unstable mother, Stella. Acclaimed author Elizabeth Gaffney's irresistible novel captures postwar Brooklyn through Wally's eyes, opening on V-J day, as she grows up with the rest of America. Reeling from her own unexpected wartime tragedy and navigating an increasingly fraught landscape, Wally is forced to confront painful truths about the world'its sorrows, its prejudices, its conflicts, its limitations. But Wally also finds hope and strength in the unlikeliest places. With an unforgettable cast of characters, including the increasingly distant and distracted Stella; Loretta, the family's black maid and Wally's second mother; Ham, Loretta's son, who shares Wally's enthusiasm for ants and exploration; Rudy, Wally's father, a naval officer, away serving in the Pacific; and Mr. Niederman, the family's boarder, who never seems to answer Wally's questions'and who she suspects may have something to hide'Elizabeth Gaffney crafts an immersive, beautifully realized novel about the truths that divide and the love that keeps us together. Advance praise for When the World Was Young "In this beautifully written novel'an honest and irresistible ride through post'World War II America in all its glory and its shame'Elizabeth Gaffney explores mothers and daughters, upstairs and downstairs, loveless marriages and passionate affairs, without ever losing her story or the fabulous characters that inhabit it."'B. A. Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger "When the World Was Young is an enormous achievement'fun, sad, beautiful, perhaps the best book about Brooklyn in the war years since the war years. Gaffney now stands in the company of E. L. Doctorow, Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Patchett, and I can't think of many others tall enough."'Darin Strauss, author of Chang and Eng and Half a Life "Dignified and fierce, a work of complex and unconventional beauty . . . Through Wally and her glamorous doctor mother, Gaffney movingly explores wartime passions, the emotional sacrifices made by strong women on the home front, and the wounding power of secrets."'Sheri Holman, author of The Dress Lodger "The genius of When the World Was Young is that, in re-creating a particularly gorgeous and promise-filled moment in American history, it also reminds us how constricting that moment could be for an adventurous soul caught living in it. Elizabeth Gaffney is in perfect control of her material, and captures all the complications of what we might like to remember as an uncomplicated time."'Jonathan Dee, author of A Thousand Pardons and The Privileges "A powerhouse novel with a rich cast of unforgettable characters . . . At the heart of the quick-paced narrative is young Wally Baker, and her voice and her manner, her courage and her life-affirming decision during a time of crisis will long be remembered, as indeed this richly textured novel will be remembered."'Nicholas Rinaldi, author of Between Two Rivers "Wally Baker, the protagonist of Elizabeth Gaffney's fine historical novel, is an undeniable, irrepressible, and thoroughly unforgettable heroine for any century."'Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life.
Publisher: New York [New York] : Random House, 2014
ISBN: 9780812996012
0812996011
Branch Call Number: E-BOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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QnVz
Jun 30, 2015

"Once, when the world was young, our planet had no people on it...The Earth was beautiful, but the Great Maker wasn't satisfied...the Maker all but forgot about the Earth, until one day a spirit child---...sneaked out of her proper place to go exploring...She invented all the forms of life..., one by one, with all their wonder and imperfection. And though it was not flawless,...the spirit child had started something beautiful in motion,...and you and I are part of it." (Part III, Chapter 35, Beatrice)

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QnVz
Jun 30, 2015

"...Wally found she had strong opinions about the news. She didn't understand why Ham--or any American--had had to risk his life for the sake of another country...Wally had come increasingly to question the point of conflict."

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QnVz
Jun 29, 2015

"Every time she heard someone shout 'Victory in Japan,' she pictured a young mother with narrow eyes and sallow skin--a woman who except for the fact they were enemies, was like her: conflicted, grief-stricken, filled with love for her surviving children but resentment for her absent soldier-husband. And then, in a flash of light, she was gone. Burned to death. Was the woman grateful to be relieved of her complicated life? No. She was nothing anymore. It was an evil way to win the war was what Stella thought. She didn't approve of the atom bombs they had used, but she couldn't say that, not to anyone. Except, perhaps, Bill."

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QnVz
Jun 29, 2015

"...Wally's mother finally tiptoed over throught the debris and took Wally in her arms, kissing her on the top of her head. 'I'm sorry darling. I just...reacted. I'm sorry I killed her.' 'Oh, Mommy, I wanted you to see her, to like her,' Wally cried, wrapping her arms around her mother. There were some things, she realized then, that ought not to be seen." (from Chapter, The Queen)

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bronteside
Oct 02, 2014

Elizabeth Gaffney has written an extraordinary novel of family relationships and love in the throes and aftermath of war. And it's not war that tears them apart. This is an inspiring tale that in the end, leaves a tug on the heart.

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occy
Aug 31, 2014

I found it took me a few chapters to get into this novel but once I did, I found it hard to put down.

Unforgettable characters and great story line made this a good read.

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QnVz
Jun 29, 2015

QnVz thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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