On Bittersweet Place
A powerful evocation of the complexities of the early 20th-century immigrant experience too often sugar-coated and sentimentalized. Rich with precise period detail and iconic historical references, On Bittersweet Place brings to life the travails and triumphs of one Jewish-American family readers will not easily forget.
On Bittersweet Place is the powerful coming-of-age story of Lena Czernitski, a young Russian Jew whose family flees their homeland in the Ukraine after the October Revolution.
On Bittersweet Place is the powerful coming-of-age story of Lena Czernitski, a young Russian Jew whose family flees their homeland in the Ukraine after the October Revolution. The story unfolds in Chicago during the Jazz Age of the 1920’s, where Lena’s impoverished family has settled and where she must traverse the early years of adolescence. Lena’s new world is large and beautiful and full of promise, but it is also cold and unwelcoming and laden with danger. Ronna Wineberg delivers a moving, universal story of family, self-discovery, young love, and the always relevant experience of the immigrant, the refugee, the outsider struggling to create a new home and a better life in an unfamiliar place.
Ronna Wineberg is the author of On Bittersweet Place, which is her first novel, and a debut collection, Second Language, which won the New Rivers Press Many Voices Project Literary Competition, and was the runner-up for the 2006 Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction. Her stories have appeared in American Way, Colorado Review, South Dakota Review and elsewhere, and been broadcast on National Public Radio. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, New York Foundation for the Arts, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. She is the founding fiction editor of the Bellevue Literary Review, and lives in New York.
More praise for On Bittersweet Place
In the pages of Ronna Wineberg’s On Bittersweet Place, one finds echoes of Anzia Yezierska and Betty Smith; in the fictional story of Lena Czernitski’s immigrant family in the first quarter of the 20th century the reader recovers a piece of our larger American history. Quite impressive.
Wineberg’s debut novel On Bittersweet Place will hold you in its gentle enthrall. A coming of age novel, an immigrant story, and an altogether moving meditation on life and the pursuit of happiness.
On Bittersweet Place has a modest scope, but in the background there are questions of identity, the evolution of cities in the 20th century, and the minute effects of sweeping historical change. The contrast Wineberg achieves is impressive.