The Boon family and their indefatigable gallows humor are back in Benny Lindelauf’s follow-up to Nine Open Arms.
Poised to win a scholarship to the nearby teachers college, Fing has high hopes. It’s 1938 and her poor family of nine—one father, four brothers, three sisters, and a grandmother—has finally managed to eke out a living in the tiny cigar factory abutting their dilapidated home. But smelling success, her dreamer of a father is determined to expand and Fing’s dreams fall apart when she instead has to go to work for the Cigar Emperor, taking care of his new, German wife’s eccentric niece. The novel’s gripping language, enriched by Yiddish, German, and Dutch dialect, plunges the reader into the world of a large, colorful, motherless family as they navigate the changes World War II visits upon their little town on the border of the Netherlands and Germany. This stand-alone follow-up to Nine Open Arms, a 2015 Batchelder Honor book translated from Dutch, is a fantasy, a historical novel, and literary fiction all wrapped into one