The White Space Between

  • Review
By – January 13, 2012
Ami Sands Brod­off s nov­el The White Space Between is a fam­i­ly sto­ry of love, fear, and the secrets of the past. It cen­ters on a moth­er, Jane, who is a Holo­caust sur­vivor, and her adult daugh­ter, Wil­low, a pup­peteer. Jane is deter­mined to shel­ter Wil­low from the past and does not talk about the war; Wil­low does not even know who her father is. Her only clue to her mother’s past is a pho­to album of Prague, where Jane lived before the war — a book of mem­o­ries. Jane lies to Wil­low about her past and her father, until both women find them­selves in Mon­tre­al, where Jane first set­tled after the war. She has come back to take part in a Wit­ness pro­gram, and it is final­ly time to tell her sto­ry. As the nar­ra­tive trav­els back and forth through time, the read­er wit­ness­es a com­ing of age — or maybe com­ing to terms — for both moth­er and daugh­ter. We see Jane as a young woman, forced to keep secrets in the camps. Wil­low soft­ens; their rela­tion­ship changes and deep­ens. The char­ac­ters are the strength of this nov­el. Jane and Wil­low are three dimen­sion­al women, with strong moti­va­tions and fears. Jane’s deter­mi­na­tion to hold back the truth is pow­er­ful, but even­tu­al­ly, the yearn­ing for gen­uine­ness and love takes over. This mov­ing sto­ry offers the read­er a promise of hope, a bridge between the past and the present, a sto­ry of fam­i­ly and love and find­ing a voice.
Sarah Aron­son holds an MFA in Writ­ing for Chil­dren and Young Adults from Ver­mont Col­lege. She is a full time writer and has recent­ly pub­lished her first nov­el, Head Case (Roar­ing Brook) for young adults. Sara blogs every Thurs­day for the Lilith blog.

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