What do readers think of Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin? Write your own review.

Summary | Discuss | Reviews | More Information | More Books

Morningside Heights

A Novel

by Joshua Henkin

Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin X
Morningside Heights by Joshua Henkin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jun 2021
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Reviews

Page 1 of 6
There are currently 43 reader reviews for Morningside Heights
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Power Reviewer
CarolT

Real
Morningside Heights is very true to life as it happens - in a way that just pulled me in and held me.
Sheila A

Memorable, Real and Relatable Characters
Joshua Henkin has written a book that feels so true with characters who are so real with all their majesty and flaws. The story revolves around the great Shakespeare scholar and popular professor, Spence Robin. The three other main characters are his wife, Pru, who has given up her career opportunities to support him, their daughter Sarah, and his son from an earlier marriage, Arlo, as well as his caretaker Ginny.
Each of the characters are somewhat isolated from others for various reasons. Sarah has departed New York City for medical school on the west coast. Arlo, who only lived with the family for a brief time, has left to find his own way. He returns for one visit with Sarah at college and then as a benefactor after Spence is ill. Pru is alone except for her college friend, Camille. Then the wonderful caretaker, Ginny comes into their life. Henkin uses this opportunity to point out the subtle differences in class and opportunity and the slight racism that exists.
The depiction of Alzheimer's is very true to life. My mother and a close friend experienced early onset, so I know how the disease affects the main caretaker and the family. I understand the denial, and the constant effort it takes to try to stem the tide of the inevitability of the disease's progress.
Henkin writes so movingly about the marital and familial love in this family. And while it seems like another depressing book, it turns out to be hopeful and uplifting. I enjoyed reading it and highly recommend it
Gretchen M. (Martinsburg, WV)

Couldn't Put It Down
I haven't enjoyed a book like this one in awhile. Characters who are real and funny and honest, a plot that flows and a difficult subject matter depicted with respect and sensitivity. It's so much more than the book jacket describes. Read it!
What are words?

Intertwined lives
Forgo vs. forego; sleight vs. slight; principle vs. principal; flout vs. flaunt; grizzly vs. grisly; mantel vs. mantle; anaticlimactic not anticlimactic - why do these word pairs matter? Do they matter at all? Professor Spence Robin's son Arlo knows that they do not matter, yet to his father, they are a concrete measurement of Arlo's education and ability.

Morningside Heights is divided into 8 sections each one with its own emphasis on a character from the book and his or her relationships. The book revolves around the life of Professor Spencer Robin who is a professor of Shakespeare at Columbia University. He is an academic star and one of the youngest professors at the university.

The story begins when Pru Steiner enrolls in the Professor's class. Their relationship is pivotal in the book. The Intellectual Professor gradually crumbles under the diseases of Alzheimer's and dementia sometime after Pru and the Professor are married.

The novel expertly weaves in and out of the four characters' lives. It examines the joys and devastating consequences that life in a loving but dysfunctional family bring.

Often a soft touch of humor enters into the novel. In chapter 33 a scene of lovemaking turns from romantic to awkward mirroring the life of the relationship itself.

This novel would be an excellent choice for a book club as it challenges our perceptions of love, Alzheimer's disease, and awkward familial relationships in blended family and other family issues.

This novel is insightful and timely- a tribute to the frailty of familial love.
Patty S. (Towson, MD)

Believe In These Characters!
I was so moved by MORNINGSIDE HEIGHTS that I had to let it sit for a couple of days before I could write about it. It is the story of a family that will experience hard things. It took me almost no time at all to become invested in Joshua Henkin's characters. They are alive and their experiences ring true, from the sweetness to the excruciating pain. Through it all, it is love and compassion that keeps them putting one foot in front of the other. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.
Susan P. (Boston, MA)

Morningside Heights
This is a sweet and sad story. Pru, a young Jewish woman from the Midwest, starts graduate school at Columbia and falls for her professor. She finds all the lovely things about him are counterbalanced by problems (his previous marriage, his overshadowing fame) and, later, his declining health. Not a long book, but a very deliberate and well-thought-out story of perhaps an ordinary person who really is inspirational (without trying to be anything remotely like that). Hard to put down!
Power Reviewer
Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC)

Realistic and Compelling
Seldom does a story about a family attain the realism that the author did in this book. Perhaps I am at an age when the storyline depicts situations similar to my own, but I identified with each of the characters completely. The author's use of parallel timelines captured my attention and made me want to read on and learn "what happens next". The life situations were believable and enduring-- I highly recommend this book as a quick, enjoyable read!
Cynthia V. (New York, NY)

Surprisingly Uplifting
A novel about a literature professor's battle with early onset Alzheimer's does not sound like something I'd ordinarily be drawn to. But this book is so much more. The setting is contemporary Upper West Side New York in the environs of Columbia University. The family members experience complex and sometimes contradictory emotions, which are honest and unsentimental. I found the author's writing of the family dynamics lovingly natural and unselfconscious. The time frame goes back and forth, but easily understood and serves character development well. Reading this compassionate, well-written and ultimately life affirming novel was a pleasure.

Readalikes

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Chasing Me to My Grave
    Chasing Me to My Grave
    by Winfred Rembert
    Chasing Me to My Grave might be the most authentic, vulnerable autobiography you'll ever read. ...
  • Book Jacket: My Monticello
    My Monticello
    by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
    In the incendiary opening story of My Monticello, Jocelyn Nicole Johnson's debut collection, a ...
  • Book Jacket: The Wrong End of the Telescope
    The Wrong End of the Telescope
    by Rabih Alameddine
    Rabih Alameddine's The Wrong End of the Telescope follows Mina, a Lebanese American doctor who ...
  • Book Jacket: Lightning Strike
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky
by Margaret Verble
A deliciously strange and daringly original novel from Pulitzer Prize finalist Margaret Verble.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Flesh & Blood
    by N. West Moss

    This beautifully written memoir offers insight, understanding, and joy.

  • Book Jacket

    Sisters of the Great War
    by Suzanne Feldman

    A powerful novel of two unconventional American sisters who volunteer at the front during World War I.

Who Said...

Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant – it tends to get worse.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y A B Up T W T

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.