What to Do about the Solomons.
Ball, Bethany (author).
Apr. 2017. 256p. Atlantic Monthly, hardcover, $25 (9780802124579).
REVIEW. First published February 3, 2017 (Booklist Online).
The large Solomon clan—spread out across the book’s main settings, primarily Israel (a Hebrew glossary would have been useful) and Los Angeles—is this unusual novel’s unique subject. In her staccato style, cleverly tracking back and forth in time, Ball tells the story of the newly arrested (gambling, we are told) Marc Solomon; his wife (a former prostitute), Carolyn; varied siblings; Guy Gever, who is suffering some sort of breakdown back in Israel (and his wife, Keren, Marc’s sister); and the mysterious Skymatsky brothers. Ball, with great humor, profound wit, and notable insight, vividly captures a singular family. The Solomons’ patriarch is Yakov, whose death, funeral, and shiva provide the novel’s climax. This novel from a most promising writer has been compared to the work of Isaac B. Singer and Grace Paley, as well as Nathan Englander and Jennifer Egan. Try Eudora Welty with sex and Jews.