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Publisher's Summary

Apart from Love is not your typical love story. All-consuming, heart-wrenching, and dark, it is a family saga that starts when Ben returns to meet his father, Lenny, and his new wife, Anita. It is then that he discovers a family secret. How will they find a path out of conflicts, out of isolation, from guilt to forgiveness? 

My Own Voice (“As told by Anita”): 

Ten years ago, Anita started an affair with Lenny, in spite of knowing that he was married and that his wife was succumbing to a mysterious disease. Now married to him and carrying his child, how can she compete with Natasha’s shadow and with her brilliance in the past? Given Anita's lack of education, how can she resist his compelling wish to transform her? Can she survive his kind of love? 

Faced with the way he writes her as a character in his book, how can Anita find a voice of her own? And when his estranged son, Ben, comes back and lives in the same small apartment, can she keep the balance between the two men, whose desire for her is marred by guilt and blame? 

The White Piano (“As told by Ben”): 

Coming back to his childhood home after years of absence, Ben is unprepared for the secret, which is now revealed to him: his mother, Natasha, who used to be a brilliant pianist, is losing herself to early-onset Alzheimer’s, which turns the way her mind works into a riddle. His father has remarried, and his new wife, Anita, looks remarkably similar to Natasha - only much younger. In this state of being isolated, being apart from love, how will Ben react to these marital affairs, when it is so tempting to resort to blame and guilt? “In our family, forgiveness is something you pray for, something you yearn to receive - but so seldom do you give it to others.” 

Behind his father's back, Ben and Anita find themselves increasingly drawn to each other. They take turns using an old tape recorder to express their most intimate thoughts, not realizing at first that their voices are being captured by him. These tapes, with his eloquent speech and her slang, reveal the story from two opposite viewpoints. 

Dealing with the challenging prospects of the marriage of opposites, this audiobook can be listened to as a standalone novel, as well as part of a family saga of best sellers. Still Life with Memories is a family saga series tinged with family saga romance, fraught with marital issues, and riddled with the difficulty of connecting fathers and sons.           

©2012 Uvi Poznansky (P)2013 Uvi Poznansky

What listeners say about Apart from Love: Still Life with Memories, Volume 1 and 2

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A Literary Masterpiece!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I already have, several times actually. This book is totally out of my usual genre (mysteries/thrillers) and probably falls most squarely in the literary fiction category, but I was completely blown away by its beauty and pathos. The quality of the writing is absolutely top notch, and when that is coupled with two supremely talented narrators, the combination is riveting.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the current tense in which the vignettes were told, alternating between Anita and Ben, and the immediacy of the sensations one experiences when listening. The voices are so authentic, the dialog just perfect. I am so in awe of David Kudler's ability to interpret the written word. He is astoundingly good. And Heather Jane Hogan is equally as talented - her Southern accent was impeccable! I've become instant fans of both narrators.

Which character – as performed by David Kudler and Heather Jane Hogan – was your favorite?

That's really tough, because I loved Anita, Ben, Lenny, and the three aunts. But I guess if I was forced to choose, I'd pick Anita. She was so honest and real, no pretenses. She'd been through so much. My heart broke for her in many scenes.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

So many moments... but I think one of the most moving was when Ben went to visit his mother in the nursing home. So sad, so heartfelt...

Any additional comments?

I really loved this book, and I think it should win lots of literary fiction awards. It's just so powerful. But I didn't like the ending! Too much was left open, and I didn't get that warm, fuzzy feeling I crave. (Okay, so I'm a happy ending kind of guy). I think it could have ended shortly after Ben was kicked out of the house - this might have been a good point if there was not to be a happy ending! Aside from being disappointed that I didn't get to see the characters living happily at the end of the story, this book, its amazing narrators, and the beautiful scenes will stay with me for many years to come.

5 people found this helpful

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The characters truly come to life

If you could sum up Apart from Love in three words, what would they be?

Full of Surprises

What did you like best about this story?

I had already read Apart From Love before listening to the audio version and I had previously found myself amazed by the author's brilliant story telling when I read it. With the audio book, it may have seemed clearer that they were recording themselves but it is hard to say since I had read the book already. Anita and Ben jumped out at you with their quirky personalities shining through their voices.

What about David Kudler and Heather Jane Hogan ’s performance did you like?

The show of emotion was wonderful for both Kudler and Hogan.

Who was the most memorable character of Apart from Love and why?

Ben and Anita are the most memorable characters in this complex story.

4 people found this helpful

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Apart from Love weaves a dual spell

Would you listen to Apart from Love again? Why?

I'll listen to Apart from Love again because I so enjoyed the interplay between Heather Jane Hogan and David Kudler, the two narrators.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ben was my favorite character. David Kudler brings Ben to life with sensitivity and grace, subsuming his narration in the story and letting the character come forth. Ben's story is at times heart-rending, and would be easily over done but a narrator of lesser skill.

What does David Kudler and Heather Jane Hogan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The combination of Kudler's Ben and Hogan's Anita makes the tension of the book crackle with life; Anita's southern accent and Ben's underlying musicality (even to sometimes singing his lines), are unique to the narrators' interpretation of this sometimes tragic story.

If you could take any character from Apart from Love out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Definitely Ben, for his view of life as a melody with white keys and black.

Any additional comments?

A deep and complex tale, well worth hearing more than once.

2 people found this helpful

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Poetic and Seductive

What did you love best about Apart from Love?

The different levels in the story: mythological, philosophical, and romantic.

What other book might you compare Apart from Love to and why?

The three aunts—the Fates—snipping and knitting, moving amongst the lives of the main characters. Also, there is the basic story of the love triangle of Ben, his father Lenny, and Anita (the young wife who is replacing Ben’s mother) that is reminiscent of Oedipus Rex: kill the father and marry the stepmother. Because of these parallels, I see this as a potential Greek tragedy that may have been written in ancient times.

Have you listened to any of David Kudler and Heather Jane Hogan ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I enjoyed their performances and would certainly look for additional audibles featuring them.

If you could take any character from Apart from Love out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Anita. Despite being uneducated, poor and seemingly a home wrecker, she shows--surprisingly--much wisdom. She is fiercely protective of her unborn child and the reader/listener will have no doubt that Anita will be a superior mother.

Any additional comments?

The best part of a Poznansky book? The poetic prose, her seductive words, that make each book well worth listening to or reading.

1 person found this helpful

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Unique & Spellbinding!

Where does Apart from Love rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Apart from Love, is only the second time that I have listened to an audio book. I have heard several people say what a wonderful experience it is to do so and now I can see the benefits for myself.

What does David Kudler and Heather Jane Hogan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Both David Kudler and Heather Jane Hogan bring the characters of Ben and Anita to life. Their voices, with the appropriate amounts of sadness, enthusiasm, voice intonations, soft or loud etc. depending on the situation, definitely add to this audio experience.

If you could take any character from Apart from Love out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Anita...I would like to sit across the table from her to get a better picture of how such a young woman...the same age as Lenny's son Ben...could end up with such an older man for a husband.

Any additional comments?

Author Uvi Poznansky is an artist! There is no doubt about it. As I read "Apart from Love", I was drawn into a masterfully created piece of artwork. This is no ordinary novel. It richly depicts the product of a dysfunctional family and how they are drawn together, yet so repulsed by each other.

There is a quality so deep and raw in "Apart from Love" that it's almost impossible to put this book down. In my opinion, Uvi Poznansky writes like a painter. She starts with a clean canvas and dabs a little paint here and a little paint there as she develops her characters and creates her masterpiece. Her strokes then become broader, more passionate, more vivid and vibrant as she continues to let her characters' stories unfold. She draws you in to a deeper level than you might actually want to go as she ignites the fire to your own love, passions, and fears.

Ben, the 27 year old son grudgingly returns home many years after the divorce of his parents, Lenny and Natasha. He finds that there is a mutual attraction between his father's young wife Anita, and himself. Their stories, along with Lenny's are related in a narrative as each person has the opportunity to share his side of the events that take place. "Apart from Love" reminds me of a movie I enjoyed many years ago...Cat on a Hot Tin Roof because it is a well-written drama that could take place on a stage similar to this movie. In "Apart from Love" Ben states..."In our family, forgiveness is something you pray for, something you yearn to receive but so seldom do you give to others." There is definitely a great need for forgiveness both on the giving end as well as the receiving end in this novel.Similar to any other work of art, the artist leaves so much of themselves in their work. Author Uvi Poznansky has done just that! Kudos to her on a job well done!

Inspirational Author & Book Reviewer ~ Dolores Ayotte

1 person found this helpful

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An intriguing novel...Buy it, Read it, LOVE it!

Any additional comments?

Uvi Poznansky explores the intricate and complex world of love in ‘Apart From Love’. Very well written and engaging throughout, this novel does, as so many have indicated, reveal the multiple truths behind a dysfunctional family. This author has a real gift for getting right inside her characters' heads. I found her words possessed a special kind of tenderness. Uvi's style is like beautiful poetry. I have never read a book like this. It really stayed interesting till the very last page. The author has great talent and a true master of her craft. Highly recommend the audio

1 person found this helpful

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Add to or amplify, audio adds.

Here is the review I did on the book after I read it.
Literary fiction at it's best.
This is not an easy read, nor a fast one. The reader is immersed in the life and love of a complicated family. The plot is complicated. The theme is one of perspective and in this lies part of the beauty of this novel. The readers perception is formed from multiple point of views. As soon as one perception is formed another take on the reality that is displayed is introduced.

The above is nice extra topping on literally poetry in motion. The authors ability to economically use words in a fluid descriptive manner is akin to see a master painter start a work of genius on a blank canvas. By the end of the process the observer is left stunned and awed.

I know this for this is the effect this book had on me. With almost every known emotion exploited and turned topsy- turvy, I stand in awe.

Now on to the narrators, David Kudler as Ben and Bens' dad did a masterful job in bringing to the fore, for me, what a pathetic man Ben really is. At 27 he never had a job. He blames his folks for everything. He drifts around like a hobo and assumes it is his right that his father keeps looking after him for he is his son.

Anita came to life with Heather Jane Hogan. She may not be well educated or even brought up well but she has smarts. The real type, the deep type that gives her insight into the human state of being that is actually kind of chilling. The two narrators added so much to the story, amplified it. Made it sharper, made the contrasts that more deep. I absolutely adored this book after I was a bit hesitant to start on it since I could still recall the book pretty well after reading it not that long ago. Absolutely amazing. A must listen.

WaAr.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautifully written and perfectly narrated

A famous poet, translator, and philosopher Samuil Marshak once said that frequent use of highly emotional words robs them of their meaning, making them dull and lackluster, like an old coin losing its shine. And that's exactly what Anita, the young wife of Ben's aging father, says to her husband in the story: “Just say something to me. Anything." And I thought, Any other word apart from Love, `cause that word is diluted, and no one knows what it really means, anyway.

Coming from uneducated Anita, who is a far cry from being a poet or a philosopher, this thought acquires an even more poignant and raw meaning. She is not trying to impress anyone, she is speaking her heart and her mind, trying to cope with the turmoil of her aging husband's fast decline and her growing attraction for his adult son Ben.

Emotions run high in this story by Uvi Poznansky, made even more prominent by the alternating voices in the audio version. Heather Jane Hogan is wonderful as Anita: she comes across as open and unpretentious, just like Anita’s character is supposed to be. David Kudler, as Ben, is more eloquent and sophisticated not only in his words but in his tone of voice that comes across in the audiobook. I sensed a tone of subtle surprise in his tone as he finds himself falling for Anita, through guilt and internal struggle.

A beautifully-written and perfectly narrated book. Highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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It just wasn't for me.

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The pacing: it is very slow. And the characters lack significant growth over a 10-12 year plotline.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

Anita's storyline was the most interesting. Ben and Lenny were stagnant - once their characters were established, nothing much changed with them. The same issues were rehashed again and again.

Have you listened to any of David Kudler and Heather Jane Hogan ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have listened to one other Heather Jane Hogan performance. I liked her performance in Twisted by Uvi Poznansky better.

Did Apart from Love inspire you to do anything?

There was one scene that left me wanting ice cream.

Any additional comments?

This book was well written with plenty of thought put into the plights of the characters, carefully mapping out how each responds to the emotional situations they find themselves in, considering each person’s needs and desires. With that said, this wasn’t the book for me. I found the pacing of the story extremely slow (and for someone who adores Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth, the pacing must be pretty slow). Also, I saw very little character growth for any of the characters from the time Anita comes into their lives fastforwarded 10 years to the wedding of Lenny and Anita. Ben went off to college, to Europe and comes back at age 27. Didn’t he have adventures? Romances? Heartbreak? But he appears to be the same as he was at age 17 when Anita first came into his life. Also, Anita seems to have very little growth. While I found her story line the most interesting, I was left feeling that all she did for 10 years was watch questionable TV and keep Lenny happy in bed. I think if the storyline was compressed over a 3-4 year span, this lack of character growth wouldn’t have bugged me as it did.

With that criticism, if you have an interest in child-parent relations when there is a divorce and a new, younger significant other takes the place of one parent, then this book might be of great interest to you. There was also that side tragedy of Natasha’s illness (which Lenny managed to hide from Ben for 10-12 years). I definitely understood Ben’s mix of emotions when he finally found out – deep sadness, betrayal (why didn’t his dad trust him with this news much earlier?). If you read the blurb on Goodreads for this book, you will see that a tape recorder with the recorded innermost thoughts of the main characters plays a key role in the story. However, this tape recorder doesn’t really come into play until the reader is perhaps 75% of the way through the book. So, it’s significance seemed rather minor to me, as compared the Natasha’s piano.

While this book was not the book for me, I am not turned off of Uvi Poznansky’s works and will look forward to checking out further works from her. Her care in plotting and setting up characters was evident in this book, even if the subject didn’t move me.

The Narration: Heather Jane Hogan and David Kudler did a decent job of narrating the story. Heather’s voice for Anita was especially good since she had the most emotional outbursts. David gave Ben an agonized voice for when he finally reunites with his ill mother and he filled Ben’s voice with longing when Ben was thinking of Anita.

2 people found this helpful

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Ben And Anita Tell Their Stories!

A Very Realistic Story Of Struggle Within A Family.

This is bundle one of two in the Still Life with Memories series. This bundle includes the first two of five books in total. Books one and two chronologically come last in the series. They tell the story of a family struggling with divorce, health issues, and forgiveness. Bundle two includes the last three books in the series. They tell the story of Lenny and Natasha, which chronologically precedes the books in this bundle. Each book in the series may be read as a standalone, but collectively they tell a very realistic story of struggle within a family – between husband and wife as well as between father and son.


FROM: MY OWN VOICE, BOOK 1

An Unusual Story Told By An Imperfect Young Woman. After Divorcing Natasha, Lenny Marries Youthful Anita.

This is book one of the five part Still Life with Memories series.

Anita, raised by a single mother in a Santa Monica rent-controlled apartment, learned about men at a very young age. She learned that her looks give her attention and power over men. But that attention has also brought problems, like the attention she gets from her mother’s boyfriends. Her mother resents her for that.

Lenny Kaminsky is in his forties when a sixteen year old Anita throws herself at him at the ice cream parlor in which she works, though his age is insignificant to her. Little does she fully comprehend what he means when he tells her she reminds him of someone he once knew. She loses her job as a result of her stunt, which guilts him into accompanying her home. When she makes a bold pass at him, Lenny is so lost to his memories that he doesn’t stop her. But Anita’s mother walks into the apartment only to throw her out for her behavior. Lenny, of course, feels responsible for his part in her predicament.

That day began a ten year period of ups and downs for Lenny and Anita. Whenever Lenny’s ex-wife, Natasha, returned to him, Lenny welcomed her back. Natasha had always been Anita’s competition. And after seeing the pictures of Natasha, there was no doubt about what Lenny saw in Anita. He saw Natasha. Anita could pass as a younger doppelganger.

But as the present story opens, Anita, twenty-six, has just become Lenny’s wife. She is about half his age and is pregnant. He married her despite the fact that everyone he knew advised him otherwise. She hardly compares to the beautiful and talented Natasha. Natasha had been a talented pianist, was cultured, and didn’t suffer from poor grammar, unlike Anita. Lenny looks at Anita, but she thinks he still sees his Natasha. Nevertheless, Anita is now married to Lenny and a member of his family, which includes his twenty-seven year old son Ben, who has just returned home and met her. Navigating her new situation, living in the home that Lenny and Natasha shared so many years, and living with two men is a challenge. Worse, Lenny still harbors secrets even after all these years.

This is an unusual story told by an imperfect young woman. Anita is far from innocent in her story. Her age cannot excuse everything, though her childhood sheds light on her actions. Lenny has his secrets and he lived a lifetime before Anita entered his life. Her eyes are open to this all along. She knew she would always come in second to Natasha, but she chose to stay, so it is difficult to have too much sympathy for her. As the story ends, there are gaps in time that remain explained and hints of what might come next. Stories remain untold and secrets remain hidden.

Newlywed Anita finds herself a stranger in her new home with her husband Lenny and his adult son Ben; between the tension in the home and Lenny’s devotion to his writing, married life is anything but simple. The story is well-written. The plot is complex but obscure and very slow to roll out. The characters are carefully crafted. The story is written in first person from Anita’s POV. I rate this book four stars.


FROM: THE WHITE PIANO, BOOK 2

Tensions Rise As Father And Son Search For Forgiveness While Also Becoming Rivals.

This is book two of the five part Still Life with Memories series. It is a story of struggle between and father and his son. Book one, My Own Voice, is told in Anita’s point of view. This is told in Ben’s point of view, covering roughly the same period of time (minus Anita and Lenny’s backstory). The story opens about one month after Lenny’s marriage to Anita. It helps to have first read book one, though this can be read as a standalone.

Ben Kaminsky left home ten years ago, at the age of seventeen. His parents’ marriage was imploding and the pain of living under the same roof would have killed him had he not packed a bag and headed from his California home to Europe. With his parents’ support he spent time in Firenze, Rome, and Tel Aviv. He had attended medical school for two years but dropped out, drifting aimlessly instead. He had never had a job in his decade abroad, and was fearful his family might discover his bumbling ways.

His parents, Lenny and Natasha, had fought about his father’s infidelity before Ben left home. His mother had been unable to forgive the single indiscretion and a divorce followed. The young girl that had been the source of the indiscretion – Anita, who had only been sixteen at the time – promptly moved in with his father, Ben learned from his gossiping aunts. Ten years later, his father had finally married Anita. That event had not gone off smoothly, however, because his father had been hospitalized due to an injury at the wedding, resulting in calls for Ben to return home.

One month later Ben, now twenty-seven, finds himself back in his childhood home. His father is now in his fifties, and though as handsome as ever, he is for now physically diminished as a result of his injury. Anita’s presence in the home causes all kinds of issues. To begin, she looks like a younger version of Ben’s mother, Natasha. She is beautiful and provocative. And she is a year younger than Ben. The youth that Ben and Anita share makes for an odd and uncomfortable living situation. But that just adds to the tension between Ben and his father. Ben returns home with the same hurts that sent him packing ten years ago. He is still damaged and emotional. His father, a would-be writer, is poor with words and struggles to explain what happened between him and Natasha to Ben’s satisfaction.

The distance between Ben and his parents had become more than just geography over the years. Ben has been isolated in many ways. He soon learns that his mother had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease at age forty-six, four years after Ben left home. Ben is furious for having been kept in the dark. As if that were not enough, Anita lets out the news that she is expecting a baby. Ben struggles with his place in the world. He hopes to connect with his mother. He lays blame at his father’s feet for destroying their family, while he hopes desperately to feel accepted and loved by a father who has moved on and begun a new family in his absence. Ben is not happy with his father’s young wife, yet Anita’s presence tempts him, particularly as he observes that his father does not love her as he perhaps ought to. The atmosphere becomes tense as father and son veer towards becoming rivals.

Ben’s story is painful look into how families are impacted by infidelity, divorce, Alzheimer’s, and secrets. It is about the desperate need for forgiveness that drives the human heart. He leaves home as a hurt and confused teenager and returns home as a man unable to move forward in life and in need of answers. Lenny, Ben, and Anita each share blame in this story, but each is human and imperfect. It is in understanding where they come from, what their thoughts are, and where they go that the full tragedy is revealed. Here Ben’s point of view lends another perspective to this sad story. Ben finally earns a little closure in the end.

There is one issue that merits mention. There are two points in which the story skips ahead, but important bits have been left out, causing some confusion. For anyone hoping for a better explanation of the events, some details are found in Anita’s story, book one. To better explain what happens between chapters seventeen and eighteen in this book, reference the beginning of chapter thirteen and the tail end of chapter fifteen in My Own Voice. For anyone that wants to see more of Ben’s story, chapter sixteen of My Own Voice picks up after this book closes and gives a small peak into the near future from Anita’s perspective. This story serves a similar purpose, filling in a few unexplained gaps in the latter part of My Own Voice as well. Note that although there remain three more books in the series, they are Lenny and Natasha’s story – a look at the past. Chapter sixteen of My Own Voice is chronologically the furthest the collective story goes.

Ben struggles when he returns home to find his mother has Alzheimer’s and his father is newly remarried. Tensions rise as father and son search for forgiveness while also becoming rivals. The story is well-written. The plot is complex but obscure and very slow to roll out. The characters are carefully crafted. The story is written in first person from Ben’s POV. I rate this book four stars.