First Papers by Laura Z. Hobson (1964)

First papers by Laura Z. Hobson

From the 1964 Random House edition of First Papers: This hugely satisfying and moving novel by Laura Z. Hobson, author of Gentleman’s Agreement, takes place during the six years that take us into the First World War.

The story centers around the triumphs and tragedies of an unforgettable family living on long Island during those critical years, but its powerful themes of freedom of speech and the ambiguities of patriotism speak more strongly to us today than ever.

It is the story of the Ivarins, whose ancestry was Jewish and Russian, and also of their closest friends and neighbors, the Paiges, whose ancestry was Unitarian and old New England. Ivarin the editor, and Paige the lawyer — these two men are allies on a dozen different “radical” fronts that affect, even wound, their own children in intensely personal ways.

As the editor of The Jewish News, Stefan Ivarin was a famous intellectual and political leader in his own world. To his family, however, and particularly his three children, he often seemed something else entirely. Intense, dedicated, infuriating — and loving — he is one of the most remarkable and rewarding characters any reader could encounter in fiction.

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The Tenth Month by Laura Z. Hobson

See also: The Tenth Month by Laura Z. Hobson

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In temperament, Evander Paige is Ivarin’s opposite: equable and calm, even during the tragic arrest of his only son — but a man who also knows what it is to give all of himself to what he believes in.

And Ivarin and Paige are only two of the absorbing people in this book. There is Fran Ivarin, forever embarrassed by her parents; Eli, who in his weakness found the way to hurt them most; and Ivarin’s wife Alexandra, with her immigrant pupils, her special lectures to Americanize them and her ready love for all the hurt and oppressed of the world.

Most of all there is the youngest Ivarin, Fee, who finally shares Garry Paige’s ordeal by law. It is Fee’s boundless love for life as she grows up that is one of the joys of this engrossing novel.

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More about First Papers by Laura Z. Hobson

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