Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
A Two-Family House is Lynda Cohen Loigman’s first novel and we can just hope there’s more to come. The story enwrapped me from the very first paragraphs, when the reader starts to second guess what terrible secret changes the lives of two mothers, Rose and Helen. Their husbands are brothers and also business partners. They share the same two-store house, divided in two family apartments in Brooklyn, where the novel starts in the 1940’s.
Rose, Helen, Mort, Abe, Judith, Natalie, Teddy. These main characters will grow with the story and you will find yourself thinking about them, even when you put the book away. Their differences, their personalities, what they say and mostly what they don’t (their silences as painful as the harshest words), will slow unfold and affect each other as in a domino, as it happens in any family realm. Loigman’s way of treating her characters sometimes resembles Elizabeth Strout (the author of Olive Kitteridge and My Name is Lucy Barton, among others), especially in her ability to show a lot through the smallest gestures or in the spaces lying in silence.
It is also interesting to point that this book was released on International Women’s Day (March 8th), and women’s struggles are evident in the female characters: America was growing fast in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but women’s destinies were still tied to their husbands and fathers’ wishes, and girls were treated very differently from their brothers. Women’s dreams required a lot of fighting to become true, their voices had to be a lot louder to be heard, notably within family. Families are not perfect, just human.
Lynda Cohen Loigman was a lawyer before she had two children and decided to change careers years ago.
“I knew I had to start writing”, she says. She attends classes at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College, in Westchester NY, where she lives with her husband and two kids.