All I Love and Know: A Novel (Paperback)
This novel is set in contemporary Northampton, MA and in Jerusalem. Daniel and Matt, a gay Northampton couple, travel to Jerusalem to bury Daniel’s twin brother and his wife, killed by a terrorist bomb, and to take custody of their two young children. Frank is masterful at balancing the personal stories of her characters with the explosive political and social issues that propel the plot. Her use of an omniscient point of view works beautifully to integrate Middle East politics with parenting, sexual politics with generational negotiations. Plus, it’s a really, really good read.
— From Ellen's Picks
Told with the storytelling power and emotional fidelity of Wally Lamb, this is a searing drama of a modern American family on the brink of dissolution, one that explores adoption, gay marriage, and love lost and found.
For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a quiet domestic life together in Northampton, Massachusetts. Opposites in many ways, they have grown together and made their relationship work. But when they learn that Daniel’s twin brother and sister-in-law have been killed in a bombing in Jerusalem, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.
In dealing with their families and the need to make a decision about who will raise the deceased couple’s two children, both Matthew and Daniel are confronted with challenges that strike at the very heart of their relationship. What is Matthew’s place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel’s questions about his identity as a Jewish man affect his life as a gay American? Tensions only intensify when they learn that the deceased parents wanted Matthew and Daniel to adopt the children—six-year-old Gal, and baby Noam.
The impact this instant new family has on Matthew, Daniel, and their relationship is subtle and heartbreaking, yet not without glimmers of hope. They must learn to reinvent and redefine their bond in profound, sometimes painful ways. What kind of parents can these two men really be? How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure? And are there limits to honesty or commitment—or love?
About the Author
Judith Frank is a professor of English at Amherst College. She was the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, has held residencies at Yaddo and MacDowell, and is the author of a previous novel, Crybaby Butch.
“In this wonderfully rich, absorbing novel, Frank sheds light on gender and identity, the anguished politics of the Middle East, the limits of love and one family’s struggle to stay intact.”
“Deeply moving . . . Frank shows profound empathy for her characters, making this book heartbreaking, yet jubilantly hopeful.”
— Publishers Weekly
“A thoughtful look at how grief isolates survivors and how families may, or may not, come together in crisis.”
— Library Journal
“I Loved it! Read it non-stop. These people catch you by the heart so powerfully you can hardly believe it is a novel. I’ve already had to loan it to a friend.”
— Dorothy Allison, award-winning author of Bastard out of Carolina
“A tender novel that deals with the emotional riptides left by an act of terrorism long after the headlines have faded. It is a brave, moving, and deeply compelling book, written with grace, about the ways even love and family devotion are challenged when the worst occurs.”
— Scott Turow, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“[A] timeless story… beautiful, expansive, and deeply humanistic… Frank is a perfect storyteller, creating vivid landscapes and characters and events…. We have little choice in how we, or those whom we love, die. But when it comes to life, we can choose. Judith Frank shows us how.”
— Huffington Post
“[This is] strong storytelling driven by emotionally complex characters: first-rate commercial fiction.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This tender, intricate domestic drama both engages and informs what is arguably one of the critical issues of our time. It feels quite revolutionary, not just in the political sense, but in terms of the kind of stories we value.”
— Alison Bechdel, New York Times bestselling author of Fun Home
“This is a big American story, a tapping into the zeitgeist that few other novelists have really traveled --- taking the life of gay American couples beyond the struggle for marriage equality and giving a look at the usual challenges of any relationship.”
“A powerful novel about love, loss and the will to endure after inconceivable tragedy.”
“Brilliant, thoughtful, [and] unexpectedly funny.”
— Lambda Literary Review
“The book explores numerous hot button issues - gay rights, the Israel/Palestine conflict, child custody and Jewish identity - yet retains a surprising degree of humor and good will, making it an excellent and gripping read.”
— Western Massachusetts Jewish Ledger
“All I Love and Know is notable not only for its literary craft and emotional power but for its exploration of several hot-button social and political issues including gay marriage and the Israeli/Palestine conflict.”
“Frank delves into politics, both on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and on gay rights. The first is handled with a deft hand, the second, with almost a sleight of hand, making the impact of this novel, which is ultimately about the resilience of love, all the more powerful.”
— Boston Globe
Descriptions of ‘honest, lesbionic Northhampton’ provide moments of comic relief throughout, enhancing the steady human warmth of this important novel. From the darkest moments to the lightest, Frank’s empathy for her characters transforms front-page news into literary fiction.”
“This beautiful novel is old-fashioned in its approach . . . and yet it feels wholly fresh. . . . A compassionate, utterly compelling story of how family members, torn apart by tragedy, must reach deep within themselves to meet their greatest challenge.”
— Booklist (starred review)
“It seems quite possible the men’s relationship will not survive these stresses, which Frank explores in depth and without reassuring sentimentality. . . . [It’s] moving to watch them work through to reconciliation. [This is] strong storytelling driven by emotionally complex characters: first-rate commercial fiction.”
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)