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Forget What You Know about Jewish Mothers: Tzippy the Thief, the Debut of "a Major New Voice in American Fiction"

Patricia Striar Rohner's insightful, funny, and often bittersweet new novel, "an important book, and the debut of a clarion voice."
  • <strong>Tzippy the Thief by Patricia Striar Rohner</strong>
    WEST NEWBURY, MA, October 12, 2016 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Women of a certain age, it is said, tend to become invisible. That might not be such a bad thing for an 80-year-old widow pocketing costume jewelry from a Miami Beach Saks. Meet Tzipora Finkel Breyer, former beauty, lifelong kleptomaniac, and the unlikely heroine of Tzippy the Thief (She Writes Press, paper, $16.95), Patricia Striar Rohner's insightful, funny, and often bittersweet new novel about the indignities of aging, the failures of parenthood, and the search for just the right Chanel suit.

Lord knows Tzipora--Tzippy to her three grown children and her snazzy 82-year-old boyfriend Stan Fosberg--doesn't need the money. The wealthy widow of a rich, philandering garment district success sips tea in her fabulous Bal Harbour condo, which she shares with her live-in maid, cook, chauffeur, and friend of 38 years. There's just something missing in her life--always was. And it played itself out in the lives of her children, especially, Shari, now 45--an anorexic alcoholic working at the Gap.

"Tzippy the Thief marks the introduction of a major new voice in American fiction," says Charles Bane, Jr., Pushcart Prize-nominated author of The Chapbook. "Keenly observant and humane, Rohner explores the tucked-away realities of aging: the fears of approaching twilight, the regret at loss of beauty and health, the examination of family and emotional legacy. This is an important book, and the debut of a clarion voice."

Rohner paints a full and richly textured portrait of unfinished business and regret. "I have been a frivolous woman," Tzippy is forced to conclude, as she sees her shallowness reverberating in the lives of her children, all in town to throw her a party for her 80th birthday. Rohner, who has a master's degree in social work and is the author of numerous short stories, is at her darkly devilish best when noting that her daughters' choice for centerpieces at the party are large papier-mache shoes in honor of Tzippy's love of footwear.

While Rohner does an artful job of painting a portrait of missed opportunity and regret, one of the beauties of Tzippy the Thief is the chance it gives her to make some amends. In the end, we're presented with a woman who, at 80, is finally maturing. Old dogs (though Tzippy would be horrified at the association) can indeed learn new tricks. Even if that trick is becoming fully dimensional.

Ms. Rohner also does a wonderful job of illuminating the mindset of one of the last generations of women whose options for identity were tied to solely to their husbands'. "Maybe she was old-fashioned, but having a smart, powerful man on her side was something she had always craved," Rohner writes, aware, as is Tzippy, that catching such a man in those days required a female's primary currency: her looks. And since superficial perfection was Tzippy's specialty, it's no surprise that she still thrills to being called Babycakes.

Tzippy's back story--a woman desperately ashamed of her immigrant parents, determined to have status through a man--is as revealing about the ethos of an era as it is about Tzippy herself. Mad Men-era women were aspirationally malnourished. It's no wonder many of their daughters ended up with eating disorders.

In Tzippy the Thief, Patricia Striar Rohner brings us deeply into the life of a woman of a certain age. It takes a certain type of talent to do it with so much charm, humor, insight, and heart.

Patricia Striar Rohner was born in New York City and raised in South Orange, New Jersey. She attended a Hebrew day school in Newark, and graduated from Kimberly School for Girls in Montclair. She received a BA from Brandeis University where she majored in theater arts.

She later received a certificate in communications and a master's degree in social work, both from Simmons College. She has worked as a clinical social worker, owned and run a gourmet kitchen shop, and sold real estate.

Rohner has published seven short stories in literary journals and was a top-ten finalist in the Arts & Letters Prizes in 2004. Tzippy the Thief, her debut novel, won first prize in the general fiction category at the Southeast Book Festival in 2016 and was honorable mention in both the Paris and New York Book Festivals.

In her spare time, Rohner oil paints, golfs, and follows the Boston Red Sox. She has twelve grandchildren. She lives half the year in Massachusetts and the other half in Florida.

For more information, visit http://www.tzippythethief.com/.

Media contact: Victor Gulotta
Gulotta Communications, Inc.
617-630-9286
http://www.booktours.com
victor(at)booktours(dot)com


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