On a morning in 1924, a young woman rises from the floor of her family’s small home in Belorussia to find her parents and her husband slaughtered beside her and her infant daughter, Sophie, missing. When her aunt tells her the baby is dead, Lillian emigrates to America. She is working as a seamstress at the Yiddish Theater and enjoying café society when a cousin arrives and insists that her daughter is still alive—in Siberia.
Lillian cannot stop dreaming of Sophie; she feels she must get to Russia, yet she can’t afford the passage. Her only friend, an actor turned tailor, steals atlases from the New York Public Library and sews them into an overcoat for her. She crosses North America by rail, truck, and foot, encountering drifters, wardens, pimps, missionaries, and tattoo artists. From Dawson City, Alaska, she sets sail for Russia. She falls in love, falls in with the wrong people, leaps before she looks, hopes hard, and refuses to give up.
Inspired by a true story, Away is Moll Flanders in America and Odysseus in the Jazz Age: big, wide, brilliantly imagined, unexpectedly funny, and unforgettable.
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