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Publisher's Summary

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL JEWISH BOOK AWARD

"[Miller’s] character portraits are indelible, often heartbreaking. At times this novel moved me to tears, the highest possible compliment.”

New York Times Book Review

With the wit and scope of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Derek B. Miller tackles his most ambitious epic yet. At its heart is the return of Sheldon Horowitz, the protagonist from Miller’s award-winning first novel, Norwegian by Night, who was lauded by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo as “one of the most memorable characters . . . that I’ve encountered in years.”

MEET SHELDON IN THE MORNING OF HIS LIFE

Twelve-year old Sheldon Horowitz is still recovering from the tragic loss of his mother only a year ago when a suspicious traffic accident steals the life of his father near their home in rural Massachusetts. It is 1938, and Sheldon, who was in the truck, emerges from the crash an orphan hell-bent on revenge. He takes that fire with him to Hartford, where he embarks on a new life under the roof of his buttoned-up Uncle Nate. Sheldon, his teenage cousins Abe and Mirabelle, and his best friend, Lenny, will contend with tradition and orthodoxy, appeasement and patriotism, mafia hitmen and angry accordion players, all while World War II takes center stage alongside a hurricane in New England and comedians in the Catskills. With his eye always on vengeance for his father’s murder, Sheldon stakes out his place in a world he now understands is comprised largely of crimes: right and wrong, big and small.

“For me—as I’m certain it will be for every reader of the wonderful Norwegian By Night—Derek B. Miller’s new novel is a genuine literary event (Sheldon Horowitz is back!). Miller has long deserved to be a household name. How to Find Your Way in the Dark should finally make him one."

—Richard Russo, author of Empire Falls and Chances Are...

©2021 Derek B. Miller (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about How to Find Your Way in the Dark

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Absolutely wonderful story.

I learned a great deal about the American attitude concerning the Jewish community in America as well as the American Jews and attitudes concerning the Jews which kept us from entering the war against Germany. Read this before any of Millers novels. It will explain who Sheldon is and his up bringing. He is a main character in the next novels which are excellent. The Japanese bombing Pearl Harbor, if anything that horrific needed to happen they should have bombed Hitler's Germany. Incredibly different out come. Miller is a thought provoking historical writer with stories you can't stop listening to thank you Mr miller for your gift.

4 people found this helpful

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Best Novel of 2021

Mr. Miller creates an ingenious, intricate, witty, and astonishing novel set in the milieu of the Jewish experience during pre-World War II America. It’s characters are as indelible as the historical events that they participate. Not many authors have the wherewithal to write convincingly in the third-person omniscient, Mr. Miller, however, is more than up to the task to be the all-knowing and all-seeing guide to this fascinating world, filled with love, loss, murder, the mob, and guilt. Sheldon Horowitz-the boy has the same name and chutzpah as the elderly character that Mr. Miller introduced in “Norwegian by Night” but there is an innocence and sense of discovery that makes this prequel better. It is the equal of any Pulitzer Prize Fiction nominee, and it is by far one of the best novels of the 2021.

3 people found this helpful

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a great listen

loved it, sorry to get to the end. a wonderful story of love and survival, very relevant for today.

2 people found this helpful

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the BEST book I've heard in a long time

I love everything about this book. A coming of age story of a Jewish boy in the 1930s, but not as you would expect. With characters and events seamlessly flowing in and out of the story I was captured by this book. I understand it to be a prequel to another book as yet unread by me... my next read or listen as soon as I'm done writing this
review.

1 person found this helpful

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Engaging and clever story

The story will keep you engaged as you follow the ups and downs of Sheldon and Lenny. Great plot and writing and I learned some things about this dark time in American history.

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Brilliant

From Massachusetts to Hartford to the Catskills to Iceland to NYC this novel about love respect and anti semitism this story is a winner. Such wonderful characters. Such a great reading performance. This book will win awards.

1 person found this helpful

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Incredible Story and narrator.

One of the best books I have listened to. Narrator was perfect and an engaging, compassionate and timely experience. Thanks

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Loved everything about this book

This was my first introduction to Sheldon Horowitz though I know this book was written as a prequel to the author’s earlier novel. Each character is so well defined I felt I knew them, adored them, cried for them and laughed with them. Derek Miller captures Sheldon’s story - and that of the American Jewish community circa late 1930s and 1940s - with insight, pathos, humor, and complexity. The historical details are another aspect that make this book shine. The storytelling is propulsive, and the narrator does an excellent job. This is one of those books that I didn’t want to end and that I’ll be thrusting into the hands of all my friends.

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Wish I hadn't read it so I could read it again

This is by far my favorite audible book although the description of the plot about a 12 year old boy intent on revenge did not seem promising. But then readers are introduced to Sheldon Horowitz.

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Uneven

The novel gets off to a gripping, rip-roaring start. Sheldon is astonishing, bold, clever; you root for him all the way through and get great satisfaction when he succeeds. He's a character I hope to see in a third and even fourth novel. The story gives a sweeping, true, and important look at Jewish life and its many challenges in the eastern United States, circa 1930s to 1947.

But it gets rocky. Keen suspense gets bogged down in over-explanation. In the middle of a crisis, the author writes in thoughts that are both improbable and take much longer to hear than the action would to take place. The over-writing gets annoying, especially when the author seems so in love with his own research that he includes pages of unnecessary information, only some of which is relevant to the novel. Worst of all is an act of gratuitous violence (which I can't say much about without a major spoiler) that destroys the significance and meaning of essential elements of the book. Miller could have handled it very differently and still achieve the plot point he needed. It's a tremendous flaw.

I recommend it, but I also recommend that Miller's editor do a better job of editing. Even the best-loved authors shouldn't get away with inferior work just because they have the power of fame.