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Next of Kin

City of Toronto Book Award: Short-list finalist

In this searing novel, a Canadian Jewish family now scattered across the continent is flung back together in grief. Esther Persky — sister, wife and mother to the main players in this drama — has been killed by a drunken driver in Wyoming. The bereaved kin try to keep alive the memory of Esther's rich life and the details of her death, despite the police, doctors, lawyers, courts and political system, for whom she is simply another name on a form.



“The author brings us so completely into her character’ lives that we cannot help but care about every occurrence. Zeitlin is a fluid writer, moving from past to present with seamless ease.”

Publishers Weekly


“Highly recommended for fiction collections.”

Andrea Caron Kempf, Library Journal


Next of Kin grapples with important moral issues, and its arguments, counterbalanced and genuinely probing, are those best made in fiction. ”

Sanford Pinsker, Jewish Forward


“Wrenching in its sorrow, combined with the casually integrated Jewish customs that provide a center for both family and novel, Sarah’s tale becomes a benediction for Esther, and her memorial.

Mary Herczog, Los Angeles Times


“This more than fiction, it is heartfelt  eulogy.”

David J. Zucker, Rocky Mountain News


“Through detailed description, the author has drawn a convincing portrait of a family shaken by tragedy.”

Quill & Quire (Canada)


“Zeitlin gives a real sense of what it meant to be a rabbi’s daughter during and after the Holocaust in Toronto. Interspersing these richly detailed reminiscences are stark police and medical reports of the accident.”

Kate Fillion, Toronto Star


“A jewel of a book published by a jewel of a press.”

Peter Solomon, WMMR-AM (Phila.)


“This should be required reading for judges, attorneys, prosecutors and legislators as well as the general public.”

–Don Weiland of “Remove Intoxicated Drivers”


© 2014-2015 Marianne Langner Zeitlin