Recent Work By Joanna Smith Rakoff

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As a child, Sadie Peregrine hated Sunday afternoons, that languorous period when she was meant to start her homework—the homework she’d been avoiding all weekend—and when she began thinking about the tortures of the week that lay ahead. She much preferred Saturdays, at home with her quiet parents, going to matinees, eating Chinese food, or even Sunday mornings, when the entire Peregrine clan—her “immediate extended family,” as she thought of it—gathered around her parents’ table for breakfast. The best part though, was the early morning, before anyone arrived, when her mother slept in and she and her father had the house to themselves, to read the funny pages aloud and eat contraband doughnuts, before running out to the appetizing store on Lex for sable, whitefish, lox, cream cheese, bialys, bagels, and a half loaf of the thin-sliced black bread favored by Sadie’s grandmother, who lived alone in a sprawling apartment off Fifth, tended to by a silent maid named Gretchen, though for as long as Sadie could remember there’d been talk of moving her into the Hebrew Home in Riverdale, if only they could get the lady to agree, which didn’t seem likely. (“To the Bronx,” she rasped whenever confronted with this idea. “You want me to live in the Bronx? With old people?”)