This saga spans generations, cultures, and dimensions, ultimately paying off with a tightly connected finale. Gaal successfully balances the down-to-earth and the fantastical with stunning imagery and cleverly constructed parallels—or “synchronicities,” as Noah calls them; Hadassah’s descendant, Bernard, coincidentally works for Duschene, giving the families a chance for repentance.
Skillful, memorable prose (“they shared the same blue eyes—cobalt, Co, atomic number twenty-seven—and trademark red hair—copper, Cu, twenty-nine”) assures readers they’re in good hands. And it’s heartwarming to watch Noah and Sally rectify their strained relationship by repairing their family’s past. This multigenerational epic of family strife and healing will charm readers.
Takeaway: The magical realism of this multigenerational epic will transport readers.
Great for fans of: Chloe Benjamin’s The Immortalists, Ellen Galford’s The Dyke and the Dybbuk, Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
A tale of good and bad medicine, Deborah Gaal's Synchronicities on the Avenue of the Saints is the kind of fiction likely to leave readers breathless with laughter, deep contemplation and suspense, as family members mess with each other's lives from beyond the grave.
. . .Underlying the narrative are such pivotal questions as: Is awareness the ability to exist in a fifth dimension? Are the curses someone casts actually real and dangerous? Must promises made and broken generations ago be healed in order for the living to no longer be troubled by the dead? The camaraderie, affection, and animosity between these characters are palpable. As is their ancient pain. As is the underlying sense of evil needing to be put to rest. Dotted with Jewish idioms and philosoph- ical theories smacking of high physics, this is a romp in a universe peopled by saints and sinners alike. Some of the ghosts are particularly opinionated and humorous.
. . .The narrative is permeated with several strands that intersect many times, like complex webs that clash at many points along their lengths. Gaal smoothly links her protagonist, Noah, to an array of the story’s components. His actions as well as his temperament, peculiarities, idiosyncrasies, and perceptions drive the story forward, providing its color and flavor. Also noticeable is that the secondary characters influence and are swayed by every one of these threads. And this is what makes the yarn a great read.
In Deborah Gaal’s contemporary novel Synchronicities on the Avenue of the Saints, time, heritage, and magic result in intersections that shape lives.
. . .No one character drives the story. The aggregate cast is absorbing; their stories maintain the book’s dramatic tension. Its key players include a journalist who discovers troubling facts about the miracle drug’s long-term side effects; the unscrupulous competitor who wants to acquire and market the drug before its dehumanizing effects come to light; a glory-driven doctor who treats Noah as his personal guinea pig; a would-be whistleblower who’s immobilized by personal grief; a furious spirit seeking revenge for a wrong done by Sara’s family long ago in Russia; and a host of ancestral ghosts, including Sara, who makes delightful appearances in both human and spectral forms.
In this novel, author Deborah Gaal explores synchronicity—the idea that seemingly unrelated events may be connected on a deeper level—in our everyday lives. . .
The author sews her varied themes, characters, and surprises into a seamless narrative that is essential reading for anyone who loves elegant writing.”
It is difficult to convey the full flavor of this great feast of a novel which is an intriguing blend of thriller, history, love, war, magic, deception, and tragedy all of which is wrapped together in a neat package with an unexpected ending.
Oscillating between California in 2008 and Warsaw, Poland during WWII, this novel expertly entwines the stories of two women. Maude Fields is a widow on the verge of losing her house due to exorbitant medical bills. To conserve costs and save her home, she moves her estranged mother, Bea, from the nursing facility to her house. Along with Bea comes a 14-foot tapestry, even though Maude never knew Bea to sew.
Decades earlier in Poland, Goldye Finklestein embroiders wedding dresses in a Warsaw fabrics store. Her work is beautiful, but most extraordinary is that the dreams she stitches into the gowns all come true, earning her the name “Dream Stitcher.” But as Germany threatens Poland, Goldye’s skills are needed in a different way. Perfectly blending history, mystery, and fantasy, this epic tale delivers characters rich in dimension and intrigue.
The Dream Stitcher shifts between the modern-day story of Maude and the fantastical account of Goldye Finkelstein, a Jewish teenager in Warsaw when the Germans invade Poland. . .
. . .The plot twists are remarkable, but fit perfectly into the story and never feel artificial.
As well done as the plot and setting are, they take a back seat to the author’s mastery at crafting characters. Even secondary and minor characters feel real and are given fully-fleshed out lives. With a backdrop as hyper-real as the Holocaust, strong characters are required, and Gaal delivers. The women of The Dream Stitcher are flawed—creatures of their time and circumstance—but they possess a strength that is both inspiring and beautiful.
. . .While this is a complicated plot, the author weaves its many elements into her tale skillfully. Gaal uses “magical realism,” where supernatural events seem to be ordinary occurrences, to illustrate how the past affects the present. Such fantastical moments are intriguing and believable, never lapsing into the outrageous.