So Sherwin Nuland introduces Meyer Nudelman, his father, a man whose presence continues to haunt Nuland to this day. Meyer Nudelman came to America from Russia at the turn of the 20th century, when he was 19. Pursuing the immigrant's dream of a better life but finding the opposite, he lived an endless round of frustration, despair, anger, and loss: overwhelmed by the premature deaths of his first son and wife; his oldest surviving son disabled by rheumatic fever in his teens; his youngest son, Sherwin, dutiful but defiant, caring for him as his life, beset by illness and fierce bitterness, wound to its unalterable end.
Lost in America is equally revealing about the author himself. We see what it cost him to admit the inextricable ties between father and son and to accept the burden of his father's legacy. In Lost in America, Sherwin Nuland has written a memoir at once timeless and universal.
"Written with enormous empathy, yet without a hint of sentimentality, Nuland's memoir is both heartbreaking and breathtaking" (Publishers Weekly)
"Nuland is masterly at holding to the vulnerable son's point of view and keeping the reader inside the experience. He brilliantly conveys the inner experience of depression as an effect on the emotional dynamics of family life." (The New York Times)
What members say
Exploring intergenerational legacies
I couldn't stop listening to this book. "Riveting" is an overused word but it describes this text. The author shares with us a stark, honest exploration of his family's history, dynamics and legacy of his parents' immigrant experience. His prose is clear and engaging, and the story he tells spares no one--least of all himself. This book helps me understand the tremendous price paid by this family of first and second generation immigrants in search of the American dream. And yet, in the end, it's a story of redemption and forgiveness and hope. A brave and healing tale.
10 people found this helpful
Needed a tighter editing
This book is an intensely personal story, and such stories tend to dwell on details that are of interest only to the people closest to them. For a more general market, a tight editing is needed - and this book didn't get it. Much of the story is interesting, but it could have been told in half the time.
4 people found this helpful
1st gen. american's personal story of self,family
honest, unsparing and profoundly moving- perhaps more so for me as a grandchild of russian jewish immigrants. i could hear my grandparents through his rendition of yiddish-english. i was transported back to my childhood in an extended family that was lost as the generations move further and further away from the shtetl. perhaps most importantly, his book cut a window into the immigrant generation, and to my parents, and by doing so helped me along in my own journey towards understanding.
i binged listened to this book.
2 people found this helpful
Takes Prose to Previously Unseen Shades of Purple
I checked this book out on the strength of the adulatory reviews contained here. Big mistake. This is hands-down the most overwritten, ploddingly morose book I have encountered in a long time. Mr. Nuland is not a writer, but he's apparently read some bad ones, and consequently thinks that the marks of serious literature are ubiquitous adverbs; tangled, portentous sentences; and the pervasive aroma of the thesaurus. (He's obviously never read Steven King's "On Writing.") "Depilatory armamentarium" (for "medicine cabinet") and "mucoid secretions" (for "tears") will remain in my memory as benchmarks of bad writing long after everything else about this self-pitying, insightless book has mercifully faded away.
6 people found this helpful
The author Whines throughout
I tried to get through this book for a course on father/son relationships.
Finally gave up....too much whining throughout the book. He writes well and acts well but his whole premise is so boring. I grew up at that time and saw much worse.
The plight of the immigrant's family
My grandparents were Russian immigrants who arrived in the United States just after the turn of the 20th century. My father was born before the Great Depression, but I wasn't born until he was 50 years old. I can relate to the feelings Dr. Nuland describes in this book. I had a similar relationship with my father, who spoke Russian as a child and was quite "old fashioned," as he did with his. But, listening to this book allowed me to understand my father's life better. His parents died before I was born, but I imagine his father was much like Meyer Nudleman. I gained an appreciation for the immigrant's hopes for his children's futures and, in my situation, my father passed on his unfullfilled aspirations onto me. Dr. Nuland reads his own book with emotion like no one else could. I cannot imagine any listener with dry eyes at the end of this compelling memoir.
- L. Mc
Not worth the time.
Eh - not horrible, but I wouldn't recommend anyone invest the time. A whole lot of navel-gazing without much insight. Or, more accurately, without insight beyond alternating self-flagellation and criticism of his father. And Nuland violates the rule that no book should use "sui generis" and "hegemony" more than three times each.