Shadows We Carry: A Novel

Meryl Ain

Fraternal twins, Jo-Jo and Bronka Lubinski are coming of age in the tumultuous 1960s. Studying at a New York City college, they live at home with their parents. Their father is a Holocaust survivor who has always kept his family close and his emotions buried. Their mom gave up being a nursing for marriage. With that example, both women are seeking to discover who they are in an era of women’s rights. Jo-Jo is forced to redefine her terms, while Bronka continues to dream of a husband and family even as she pursues a career in journalism. The tug between news reporting and finding the right Jewish young man continues as she is finally given her chance to report on neo-Nazis on Long Island. It’s a story that will change the trajectory of her life.

“Shadows We Carry” is a moving tale of womanhood, Jewish identity, and family! The story is a sequel to “The Takeaway Men,” but can be read on its own. While both sisters are the focus at the beginning of the book, it isn’t long before Bronka’s voice and journey are the main drivers. Those of Jewish descent will likely feel an emotional connection to the Lubinskis. For non-Jewish readers, there are various Yiddish/Hebrew expressions sprinkled in the text for which a glossary is provided at the back. The pace felt slow at the start with Bronka pining over the boy who won’t commit. The emotional tension shoots up when the Neo Nazi storyline enters, and Bronka develops as a character. Points of view could have been smoother. Overall, “Shadows We Carry” is a keeper for any bookshelf!


Tricia Hill