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In Brooklyn, in the Age of Disco, Valentine Kessler -- a sweet Jewish girl who bears a remarkable resemblance to the Virgin Mary of Lourdes -- has an unerring gift for shattering the dreams and hopes of those who love her. Miriam, her long-suffering mother, betrayed and anguished by the husband she adores, seeks solace in daily games of mah-jongg with The Girls, a cross between a Greek Chorus and Brooklyn's rendition of the Three Wise Men, who dispense advice, predictions, and care in the form of poppy-seed cake and apple strudels. When her greatest fear for Valentine is realized, Miriam takes comfort in the thought that it couldn't get any worse. And then it does.
Sagacious, sorrowful, and hilarious, An Almost Perfect Moment is a novel about mothers and daughters, star-crossed lovers, doctrines of the divine, and a colorful Jewish community that once defined Brooklyn.
This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
Binnie Kirshenbaum is the author of An Almost Perfect Moment, On Mermaid Avenue, A Disturbance in One Place, Pure Poetry, Hester Among the Ruins, and History on a Personal Note. She is a professor at Columbia University's School of the Arts, where she is chair of the Graduate Writing Program.
“A quicksilver fable... at once ironic and mystical, tender and edgy, loaded with shtick and downright subversive.”
-Booklist (Starred review)
“Lays bare [a] collection of Brooklyn souls in the... style of short story masters Raymond Carver and Ann Beattie.”
“Kirshenbaum...has an original voice and, even better, an original sensibility.”
-Los Angeles Times
“[A] zany, irreverent, cheerful novel…. Bristles with energy and sharpness.”
“Engrossing…. Cinematic, effortlessly beautiful descriptions will spark the reader’s imagination, and myriad plot twists and turns will keep you guessing.”