With the storytelling power of Wally Lamb and the emotional fidelity of Lorrie Moore, this is the searing drama of an American family on the brink of dissolution, one that explores adoption, gay marriage, and true love lost and found.
For years, Matthew Greene and Daniel Rosen have enjoyed a contented domestic life 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 Jerusalem bombing, their lives are suddenly, utterly transformed.
The deceased couple have left behind two young children, and their shocked and grieving families must decide who will raise six-year-old Gal and baby Noam. When it becomes clear that Daniel's brother and sister-in-law had wanted Matt and Daniel to be the children's guardians, the two men find themselves confronted by challenges that strike at the heart of their relationship. What is Matt's place in an extended family that does not completely accept him or the commitment he and Daniel have made? How do Daniel's complex feelings about Israel and this act of terror affect his ability to recover from his brother's death? And what kind of parents can these two men really be to children who have lost so much?
The impact that this instant new family has on Matt, 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. How does a family become strong enough to stay together and endure when its very basis has drastically changed? And are there limits to honesty or commitment—or love?
Praise for All I Love And Know
"Everything that Judith Frank presents in All I Love and Know is so stunningly right it’s as if she is a master gem cutter who brings to light exquisite facets in a stone.”
—Los Angeles Public Library, Best Books of 2014: Fiction
PEOPLE says, “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.”
“I loved it! Read it nonstop. These people catch you by the heart so powerfully you can hardly believe it’s a novel. I’ve already had to loan it to a friend.”
—Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina
OUT MAGAZINE calls ALL I LOVE AND KNOW “[A] deftly balanced tale of grief and redemption… Frank wraps these big themes around an intimate, fraught family setting; after the funeral in Israel, Daniel and Matthew return to their New England home, a 6-year-old and a baby in tow, and they’re forever changed. After reading this book, one of the best of the season, you may be, too.”
“. . .a quick-witted and moving novel that acutely explores the ways in which families mourn, the toll death takes on relationships and the resilience that allows people to survive–all against the backdrop of a uniquely tempered portrayal of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. . . . a brave and important piece of literature.”
—Lambda Literary Review
“Compelling . . . It seems quite possible the men’s relationship will not survive these stresses, which Frank explores in depth and without reassuring sentimentality . . . [Frank] also excels at the social backdrops for her characters’ drama, from the fraught political climate in Israel… to the cozy, gossipy world of gay and lesbian life in Northampton . . . . [This is] strong storytelling driven by emotionally complex characters.”
—Kirkus (starred 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.”
—Late Last Night Books
“A young couple must deal with both grief and transformation when one of them becomes the guardian of an orphaned infant and a 6-year-old. The fact that the new parents of this instant family are two gay men is a secondary element of this emotional saga and that is part of the brilliance of Judith Frank’s “All I Love and Know.’’ ... This novel is ultimately about the resilience of love.”
“Quite simply, Judith Frank's ALL I LOVE AND KNOW is the best novel I've read in eons. There are so many plateaus of fascination as she draws you in with the rich and fully realized characters she has assembled.”
—David Rothenberg of WBAI
“[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.”
“Frank shows a profound empathy for her characters, making this book heartbreaking, yet jubilantly hopeful.”
“Author Judith Frank does a masterful job of letting readers feel what the protagonists feel… Relationships are strained all around as the would-be fathers try to mesh their former dreams with this new kind of family life. . . .It all rings true, from the deeply psychological personal struggles and the ways children mourn, to the question of how to feel and respond to the terrorist act. This issue-packed novel repeatedly moved me.”
“A thoughtful look at how grief isolates survivors and how families may, or may not, come together in crisis.”
“Frank covers a vast terrain with a deft touch, and the occasional amusing set piece highlights how honestly the central characters are rendered.”
“For all of its controversy, All I Love and Know is a simple and beautiful story at its core. Such emotions as grief and love transcend lifestyles and religions. . . . It is a stunning, simple story that allows readers to ignore the intricacies of the world and focus on the quintessential core values - love and respect.”
—That's What She Read
“The relationship between Daniel and Matt is central to this moving story, which is told with a deep sensitivity. I am not gay, but I never doubted the love between these two young men, or the love and concern that everyone feels for the bereaved children. . . . This is a wonderful book.”
“The considerable power of Judith Frank’s second novel, “All I Love and Know,” comes from two sources not always found in combination: first, the seriousness of the social issues it takes on, and second, its psychological, nearly Jamesian style. . . . Like upmarket Jodi Picoult. . . . From the darkest moments to the lightest, Frank’s empathy for her characters transforms front-page news into literary fiction.”
“Judith Frank’s new novel has—like too little literary writing—an actual plot: A married same-sex couple from Massachusetts relocate to Jerusalem to raise their niece and nephew, recently orphaned by a bombing. You will most likely cry while reading it, but you won’t despair.”
—New York Magazine
“A powerful novel about love, loss and the will to endure after inconceivable tragedy.”
"It's so good you won't want it to end. Frank writes with insight and authority... It's both an engaging read, and utterly believable. Even minor characters are fully drawn and compelling. With plenty of plot twists and characters you can root for, it is, at its heart, a good old-fashioned page-turner."
—The Jewish Daily Forward
“A riveting book, so vast in its emotional scope but also very straight-forward in its storytelling— . . . storytelling that brings you right into these characters lives. It’s timely, but timeless, too, in its emotional resonance . . . ”
—Bill’s Books, NBC New York
“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.”
“ . . . Unsparing, raw glimpse into all the ways that a family can be pulled apart by the chaos of unimaginable loss.”
“Frank has a mastery for creating believable, empathetic, and complex characters and situations, which are realistically resolved – or not. The dilemma faced by the Rosen family of creating a sense of safety for children who have been made brutally aware that the world is not safe, is poignantly extended to the illusion of safety we all cling to. ..,An exceptional novel, recommended for all readers."
—Skokie Pubic Library