On Fire Island

  • Review
By – December 11, 2023

Although this fast-paced nov­el deals with death and mourn­ing, it is quite uplift­ing. Author Jane Rosen writes from the per­spec­tive of Julia Gold, a book edi­tor who dis­cov­ers the beau­ti­ful writ­ing of nov­el­ist Ben­jamin Morse. The two become part­ners in love and work. 

Julia chron­i­cles their active lives in Man­hat­tan and relaxed sum­mers on Fire Island, a long, nar­row bar­ri­er island locat­ed in the south­ern­most part of Suf­folk Coun­ty, Long Island. She cap­tures the island’s charm, describ­ing the fer­ry ride to get there, the bicy­cle trans­porta­tion, the sev­en­teen dis­tinct com­mu­ni­ties, the wild ocean and calm bay, the bars and restau­rants, and the inhab­i­tants’ per­son­al­i­ties and casu­al lifestyles. Every­one — year-long res­i­dents, sum­mer renters, and day-trip­pers alike — looks for­ward all win­ter to spend­ing time on the island. 

Now, Julia is enjoy­ing one last sum­mer there. Through­out the nov­el, she con­fronts many chal­lenges, includ­ing messy attach­ments to her tra­di­tion­al­ly Jew­ish fam­i­ly, dis­ease, old age, loss, and the stages of grief. But she also finds hope, pos­i­tiv­i­ty, and inter­gen­er­a­tional sup­port, mak­ing this sto­ry upbeat and appro­pri­ate for teen readers.

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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