Ana Turns

  • Review
By – November 13, 2023

A com­ing-of-age nov­el in the spir­it of Vir­ginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dal­loway, this book intro­duces us to Ana Koehl, whose six­ti­eth birth­day serves as a reminder of the rela­tion­ships and deci­sions that have informed her life. Lisa Gor­nick has writ­ten an intel­li­gent, humor­ous, and char­ac­ter-dri­ven book that is full of com­pli­cat­ed fam­i­ly dynam­ics, roman­tic and pro­fes­sion­al pur­suits, and friend­ships that will either charm or frus­trate read­ers. Those who are famil­iar with the cul­tur­al, cre­ative, and intel­lec­tu­al land­scape of con­tem­po­rary New York City will par­tic­u­lar­ly appre­ci­ate Ana’s story.

It’s clear that Ana is not a woman who has it all — and yet it’s easy to under­stand why she, and those around her, are so eager to dis­miss or ignore the knots of her life. All of her rela­tion­ships — with her fam­i­ly, her best friend, and her clients — are com­pli­cat­ed. Out of these com­pli­ca­tions, Gor­nick molds a char­ac­ter with the strength and vibran­cy to hold read­ers’ atten­tion. Ana and her exten­sive sup­port­ing cast are nei­ther heroes nor vil­lains; it is left to read­ers to choose where their sym­pa­thies lie. 

While some may find the numer­ous con­flicts over­whelm­ing, Ana Turns is extreme­ly well suit­ed for rau­cous book club dis­cus­sions — espe­cial­ly those in which bev­er­ages are involved. 

Deb­by Miller is a long-time board mem­ber of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil, serv­ing on its Fic­tion com­mit­tee, and lat­er found­ing the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award for Book Clubs. She is cur­rent­ly a Vice Pres­i­dent of the orga­ni­za­tion. Deb­by is based in Greens­boro, NC and has been involved in the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty through Nation­al Coun­cil of Jew­ish Women (NCJW), AIPAC, B’nai Shalom and the Fed­er­a­tion. She was pres­i­dent of the local Women’s Divi­sion and cam­paign chair, and also got involved in the Nation­al Women’s Divi­sion. One of her pri­ma­ry phil­an­thropic endeav­ors is her work with JDC, where she has been a mem­ber of the board since 1994

Discussion Questions