Brooklynite’s poignant novel depicts teen coping with loss

Brooklyn BookBeat

September 11, 2013 By Samantha Samel Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Brooklyn-based author Avra Wing earned critical acclaim with her first novel, “Angie, I Says,” which was made into the movie “Angie” starring Geena Davis and James Gandolfini.  In her second novel, “After Isaac”, published this past June by Olinville Press, she again wins the hearts of her readers. “After Isaac” tells the story of Brooklynite Aaron Saturn, an emotionally stunted 16-year-old who is stifled by his grief over the death of his younger brother, Isaac.

Wing captures Aaron’s heartbreak with an astute delicacy. “As many times as I go over it, it’ll never make any sense,” Aaron recalls toward the beginning of the book, reflecting on the day his brother passed away. “What did we talk about on the train going home? Why can’t I remember? I think we went into Video Forum…Isaac had pretty good taste in movies for a kid. He was just getting into Hitchcock.”

Aaron goes on to replay the day’s events, agonizing over each detail, and finally, wondering, “Had he cried out? Did I sleep through it?” Isaac’s heart had stopped in the middle of the night.  “Could I have done something to save him? Everybody told me it must have happened very fast and quietly, no way I would have heard something, no chance to help. Still, there were times I couldn’t stop thinking about it, telling myself it was my fault,” Aaron mourns.  

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Trapped in his sadness, Aaron seeks an escape. When he meets Kim, a teenage girl living on the streets of Manhattan’s East Village, he is hopeful that he’s found a way out of his gloom. But when his parents share with him a new plan that will alter their family, Aaron’s life seems to further unravel.  Alongside his girlfriend, Emma, and his best friend, Sam, Aaron comes to realize that running away will not help him in the long run. As he works through his tragic past and attempts to cope with what the future will bring, he must learn to let people in – and let love trickle back into his life.

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