The Family Morfawitz

Daniel H. Turtel

Assaf Cohen (Narrator)

02-14-23

9hrs 10min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction

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02-14-23

9hrs 10min

Abridgement

Unabridged

Genre

Fiction

Description

“Fans of Brady Udall, Madeline Miller, and Taylor Jenkins Reid will appreciate Turtel’s clever reframing of timeless themes.” Booklist (starred review)

A Barnes & Noble Favorite Indie Book for March/April
A Kobo Pick of the Month in Fiction
A Fresh Fiction Pick of the Week's New Books
A Hey Alma Pick of 23 Most Anticipated Jewish Books of 2023

From acclaimed author Daniel H. Turtel, winner of the Faulkner Society Award for Best Novel, comes The Family Morfawitz, a gripping Jewish family saga inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. 

When Hadassah Morfawitz flees Nazi Germany with her siblings and arrives in New York, she is determined to turn the city into her own Mount Olympus—at any cost. In choosing orphaned concentration camp survivor Zev Kretinberg as her husband and accomplice—ensuring his loyalty with the promise of riches and the burial of a dark past—she begins a ruthless journey toward the upper echelons of Park Avenue synagogue society. Their combined ambition knows no limits, and nothing will stand in the way of their realization of the American ideals of wealth and beauty, even if it means abandoning their son, Hezekial. 

Decades later, through machinations worthy of his parents, Hezekial becomes entrusted as the family’s chronicler. As he sits with his aging father, transcribing a litany of Zev’s sins—from serving as a kapo at Gusen, to betraying the friends who helped him, to his blood-bound commitment to Hadassah despite numerous affairs and illegitimate children—the younger Morfawitz is faced with a choice: whitewash a lifetime of cruelty, indifference, and lust, or repay his mother at last.

Praise

“Fans of Brady Udall, Madeline Miller, and Taylor Jenkins Reid will appreciate Turtel’s clever reframing of timeless themes.” Booklist (starred review)

“The Family Morfawitz is a multigenerational saga about the rise of a ruthless and power-hungry family steered not just by the heavy hand of ancestral pain but by ugly secrets. After narrowly escaping the Nazis, this merciless bunch of pre-Trump Trumpers (albeit Jewish), swaggers into NYC, all tall tales and unrelenting ambition. Will NYC turn them into magical new beings or enhance their mercilessness? You’re in for a breathless, stomach-dropping ride.” Amanda Stern, author of Little Panic: Dispatches from an Anxious Life and The Long Haul

“Survivors of the Holocaust exist in a different moral universe; the rules of morality don’t quite exist. In his epic second novel, The Family Morfawitz, Daniel Turtel does the extraordinary, combining depravity and humor with ease, giving us the equivalent of the Jewish Trumps—only crazier. Too many bastard children to count, incest, prostitution, multiple murders, fraud, betrayal, and occasional bouts of tenderness. I turned each page in horror and anticipation.” Marcy Dermansky, author of Hurricane Girl and Very Nice 

“Turtel showcases tremendous worldly intelligence and quick wit in The Family Morfawitz—a sudsy portrayal of men who’ll stop at nothing to get what they want, outmatched only by women who are just as lusty, ambitious, and cruel as they are. This novel will keep you up at night, maybe turning over your own family secrets while you frantically turn pages. A wild ride of a read.”   Joanna Hershon, author of St. Ivo and A Dual Inheritance

“Throughout the novel, Turtel paints gripping and sentimental portraits of New York City and how it changes over the second half of the twentieth century. The Family Morfawitz is as much a story of a family as it is the city that helps shape that family. In these moments the Jewishness and the immigrant nature of the family enhance the characterization of the place. Through the use of Yiddish, history, folklore, and occasional theology the Jewish diasporic experience is carefully and lovingly rendered.” Brooklyn Rail

Details
More Information
Language English
Release Day Feb 13, 2023
Release Date February 14, 2023
Release Date Machine 1676332800
Imprint Blackstone Publishing
Provider Blackstone Publishing
Categories Literature & Fiction, Genre Fiction, Family Life, Historical Fiction, World Literature, City Life
Author Bio
Daniel H. Turtel

Daniel H. Turtel is the author of the novel Greetings from Asbury Park, winner of the Faulkner Society Award for Best Novel. He graduated from Duke University with a degree in mathematics and received an MFA from the New School. He now lives in New York City.

Narrator Bio
Assaf Cohen

Assaf Cohen is an AudioFile Earphones Award–winning narrator. He has appeared in various plays, short films, and television shows. He grew up in Palo Alto and attended UC Berkeley where he earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology. He continued his classical training by earning a master of fine arts in acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University under the instruction of legendary acting instructor William Esper.

Overview

A Barnes & Noble Favorite Indie Book for March/April
A Kobo Pick of the Month in Fiction
A Fresh Fiction Pick of the Week's New Books
A Hey Alma Pick of 23 Most Anticipated Jewish Books of 2023

From acclaimed author Daniel H. Turtel, winner of the Faulkner Society Award for Best Novel, comes The Family Morfawitz, a gripping Jewish family saga inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses. 

When Hadassah Morfawitz flees Nazi Germany with her siblings and arrives in New York, she is determined to turn the city into her own Mount Olympus—at any cost. In choosing orphaned concentration camp survivor Zev Kretinberg as her husband and accomplice—ensuring his loyalty with the promise of riches and the burial of a dark past—she begins a ruthless journey toward the upper echelons of Park Avenue synagogue society. Their combined ambition knows no limits, and nothing will stand in the way of their realization of the American ideals of wealth and beauty, even if it means abandoning their son, Hezekial. 

Decades later, through machinations worthy of his parents, Hezekial becomes entrusted as the family’s chronicler. As he sits with his aging father, transcribing a litany of Zev’s sins—from serving as a kapo at Gusen, to betraying the friends who helped him, to his blood-bound commitment to Hadassah despite numerous affairs and illegitimate children—the younger Morfawitz is faced with a choice: whitewash a lifetime of cruelty, indifference, and lust, or repay his mother at last.