"On a cold spring night, in the small Jewish cemetery of Zokof, Friedl Alterman is wakened from death. On the ground above her crouches Itzik Leiber, a reclusive, atheistic, fourteen-year-old who has accidentally spurred the town's angry residents to violence. The childless Friedl rises to guide him to safety-only to find she cannot return to her grave. Now Friedl is trapped in that thin world between life and death, her rash decision binding her forever to Itzik and his family - she, forever restless, and he, forever haunted by the ghosts of his past.
Years later, after Itzik himself has gone to his grave, his son, Nathan, knows nothing of his bitter father's childhood. When he begrudgingly goes to Poland on business, Nathan decides to visit his ancestral town. There, in Zokof, he meets the mysterious Rafael, the town's last remaining Jew, who promises to pass on all the things Itzik had failed to teach his son-about Zokof, about his faith, and about himself.
And yet, like the generation before him, Nathan keeps what he learns to himself. With the family legacy in danger of being lost, Friedl's restless spirit guides Itzik's granddaughter Ellen, a modern dance choreographer on a journey of her own, to Zokof. Only Friedl can help Ellen unlock the mysteries of her family's past, and only Ellen can help Friedl break her agonizing enslavement.
A stunning debut novel of enormous scope and beauty, A Day of Small Beginnings tells the timeless story of a family; of the secrets that break them, the love that binds them, and the town that is both their curse and their redemption."
A Day of Small Beginnings
Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum
Los Angeles Times A Soulful Link to a Family and Faith
by Laurel Maury
A Day of Small Beginnings, Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum's breathtaking debut, is a love story - between a ghost and a Jewish family whose patriarch fled Poland for America..."
The Forward An Eastern European 'Exodus'
by Irina Reyn
"I think our ghosts are everywhere, all the time," a young Polish man tells a visiting American Jew in Lisa Pearl Rosenbaum's deeply heartfelt first novel..."
The San Francisco Chronicle Help from Dead Brings Faith Back to Jewish Family
by Christine Thomas
"...The amalgam of place, solid characters, mystery and the mundane, anchored by the weight of history and religion, results in a formidable story that convincingly argues that "the past does not leave us. And we do not leave the past."
"This brilliant debut novel opens in 1906 in the small Polish town of Zokof,...Filled with folklore, ritual, mysticism, scholarship, and good storytelling, this book of three generations of a Jewish family is one to savor. Recommended for all libraries."
"...She packs a lot of history, recent and otherwise, into this luminous tale, as well as joy in the arts and in prayer."
Book of the Month Club
"...Part Everything is Illuminated, part The Mercy of Thin Air, this intelligent and ultimately poignant debut will keep you flipping pages long after you should be in bed. We should all have a guardian spirit like Freidl - funny, unforgettable, and determined not to let us forget where we come from."
A Day of Small Beginningswas aBarnes and Noble Discover Great New Writersselection.