ALMOST FAMILY, Roy Hoffman

4 November, 2018

The complex friendship between a black housekeeper and her Jewish employer is at the heart of Hoffman’s prize-winning novel about life in the civil rights era South–now in a 35th Anniversary Edition!

Winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award and Alabama Library Association Award for fiction

Nebraska Waters is black. Vivian Gold is Jewish. In an Alabama kitchen where, for nearly thirty years, they share cups of coffee, fret over their children, and watch the civil rights movement unfold out their window, and into their homes, they are like family—almost.

As Nebraska makes her way, day in and out, to Vivian’s house to cook and help tend the Gold children, the “almost” threatens to widen into a great divide. The two women’s husbands affect their relationship, as do their children, Viv Waters and Benjamin Gold, born the same year and coming of age in a changing South. The bond between the women both strengthens and frays.

Roy Hoffman’s Almost Family (University of Alabama Press) explores the relationship that begins when one person goes to work for another, and their friendship—across lines of race, income, and religion—develops degrees of understanding yet growing misunderstanding. This edition (2018) commemorates the 35th anniversary of the book’s publication and features a foreword by the author and includes a discussion guide for readers and book clubs.

Review

PRAISE FOR THE FIRST EDITION
“Hoffman never lets facts flatten characters; he has made them too human—too strong or too stubborn—for that.”
New Yorker

“Everything in this book rings true—the dialogue, the cadences, the deft-touch observations, the best and worst of human nature.” —Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“Hoffman has got it all exactly right: the interlocking of individual lives and great public events that made every Southerner feel as though he or she were living on the very edge of history.”—Washington Post

Roy Hoffman is the author of the novels Come Landfall and Chicken Dreaming Corn and the nonfiction books Back Home: Journeys through Mobile and Alabama Afternoons: Profiles and Conversations. His essays have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, and he was a long-time staff writer for the Mobile Press-Register. He received the Clarence Cason Award in nonfiction from The University of Alabama and is on the faculty of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing Program.