Rekindled: Rachel Barenbaum
in Conversation With
On A Bend in the Stars and Russia Circa 1914
In Russia, in the summer of 1914, as war with Germany looms and the Czar’s army tightens its grip on the local Jewish community, Miri Abramov and her brilliant physicist brother, Vanya, are facing an impossible decision. Since their parents drowned fleeing to America, Miri and Vanya have been raised by their babushka, a famous matchmaker who has taught them to protect themselves at all costs: to fight, to kill if necessary, and always to have an escape plan. But now, with fierce, headstrong Miri on the verge of becoming one of Russia’s only female surgeons, and Vanya hoping to solve the final puzzles of Einstein’s elusive theory of relativity, can they bear to leave the homeland that has given them so much?
Before they have time to make their choice, war is declared and Vanya goes missing, along with Miri’s fiancé. Miri braves the firing squad to go looking for them both. As the eclipse that will change history darkens skies across Russia, not only the safety of Miri’s own family but the future of science itself hangs in the balance.
Rachel Barenbaum is a prolific writer and reviewer for the Los Angeles Review of Books and DeadDarlings. She is a graduate of GrubStreet’s “Novel Incubator.” In a former life she was a hedge fund manager and a spin instructor. She has degrees from Harvard in Business, and Literature and Philosophy. She lives in Hanover, NH with her husband, three children, and dog named Zishe—after the folk hero who inspires many tales around their dinner table.
Michelle Hoover leads the GrubStreet Novel Incubator program and is the coordinator for the 20th Anniversary Massachusetts Book Awards. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New England Discovery Award. Her debut, The Quickening, was a 2010 Massachusetts Book Award “Must Read” and a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize. Her second novel, Bottomland, was the 2017 All Iowa Reads selection and a 2016 Mass Book “Must Read.” She is a native of Iowa and lives in Boston.