Home / A&E / Books / Family Secrets, Betrayal, Absolution

Family Secrets, Betrayal, Absolution

Milwaukee novelist Michelle Brafman at Jewish Community Center

Nov. 10, 2015
Google plus Linkedin Pinterest

Locally born author Michelle Brafman’s novel Washing the Dead is set in a small Orthodox Jewish community in Milwaukee and tells a dynamic tale of family relationships, betrayal and absolution. The story centers around Barbara Pupnick whose idyllic childhood is turned upside down during her senior year in high school after her mother’s affair leads to the family’s exile from their conservative Jewish community. When Barbara returns to the Midwest as an adult, now with a daughter of her own, she must confront long-buried family secrets and resolve the complexities of her fraught mother/daughter relationship. Spanning four decades, Washing the Dead is both the complex story of Barbara’s coming of age without the guidance of a mother as well as an emotional lesson on learning to forgive past indiscretions. With local landmarks including Kopp’s Frozen Custard and Sendik’s Food Market sprinkled throughout, Milwaukee readers will resonate with this compassionate and painful story of understanding and healing.


Washing the Dead is Brafman’s debut novel. Her essays and short fiction have been published in Slate, The Washington Post and many other publications. A graduate of Johns Hopkins University (JHU), she currently teaches creative writing at JHU, George Washington University and in workshops throughout the Washington, D.C. area. A native of Milwaukee, Brafman will return home for a special event at the Harry and Rose Samson Jewish Community Center on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. in conjunction with Boswell Book Co.


Book Happenings:


‘Risk!’ Live Podcast

8 p.m., Nov. 14

Colectivo Coffee

2211 N. Prospect Ave.


“Risk!” Live Podcast is an emotionally uncensored storytelling show and podcast that was created in 2009 by MTV’s Kevin Allison of the sketch comedy show, “The State.” On Saturday, Nov. 14, Allison will be joined by local storytellers to share hilarious, jaw-dropping tales at Colectivo on Prospect Avenue. “Risk!” has been featured in Rolling Stone as one of the best comedy podcasts and was hailed as “always entertaining” by The New York Times. Tickets and more information can be found at pabsttheater.com.


Woodland Pattern’s 35th Anniversary Gala Featuring Alice Notley

5:30 p.m., Nov. 13

Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts

2419 E. Kenwood Blvd.

Woodland Pattern’s 35th Anniversary Gala will take place on Friday, Nov. 13 and feature renowned poet Alice Notley. Notely, who has been publishing original works for more than four decades, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and was awarded the Ruth Lily Poetry Prize in 2015. This year’s anniversary celebration will take place at the Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets and more information can be found at woodlandpattern.org.


Are you upset by the way the NFL and the team owners have treated Colin Kaepernick?

Getting poll results. Please wait...