“My mother’s feelings are the curb I walk, trying to keep my balance, and I get tired of it, being careful, and mad at her at the same time. But then she takes my hand and smiles at me. You’re my favorite, she says. And suddenly I’m on solid footing again, struck smooth, the moment perfect, our life perfect, and me, perfectly loved.” from Last Night at the Blue Angel, by Rebecca Rotert This debut novel is an intensely moving portrait of a mother-daughter relationship, told largely from the point of view of a precocious 10 year old named Sophia, who has grown up standing in the wings of various nightclubs listening to her mother Naomi perform the jazz music she loves so much. Sophia’s voice is so endearing: she is at once needy and strong, smart and innocent, haunted and fearless. She is desperately seeking stability, love, and family, but is also afraid of it, keeping herself in the shadows of it like a feral cat.
Naomi lives for her music, for the possibility of fame, which she thinks will “solve everything.” When faced with true love, she throws it away every time, yearning for a normal life, but also afraid of it, afraid she will disappear, become powerless, dependent on a man.
This character driven novel really drew me in from the first page. Rotert’s writing is evocative and reaches the readers deepest emotions. Naomi and Sophia both "depend on the kindness of strangers,” and the supporting cast of characters (which includes a nun and a transvestite) are engaging and well drawn.
This is a novel to savor, and one that shows great promise. I look forward to reading more from this author in years to come.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read this novel.
Connect with the author here: Twitter.