WHAT

INVISIBLE AS AIR

Winner of the 2020 Georgia Author of the Year Award!
 
One of Booklist’s Top 10 Books of the Year!

A provocative and timely new novel by the author of Inheriting Edith, one that will haunt you long after the final page is turned…

One of The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “12 Southern Books to Curl Up With” – September 22. 2019

One of Deep South Magazine’s Best Of Fall/Winter 2019-20

“Fishman’s lively prose, punctuated with volleys of incisive wit and mouthy irreverence, propels the story. This convincing portrayal of a struggling family will captivate readers.” – Publishers Weekly

One of the 10 Southern Books We Loved in 2019 – Atlanta Journal Constitution
Invisible As Air : Reviews

“Zoe Fishman’s characters are as vibrant and alive as your dearest friends. Invisible as Air introduces us to a family on the edge of a cliff, teetering over with their grief and need. With psychological acuity, Fishman cracks open the family and takes us to the place where there is beauty in brokenness, where there is light in the dark, and where we can find intimacy in our honesty. I fell in love with each character as they searched for meaning and connection. From the first stunning choice to the last, I could not put this novel down.”–Patti Callahan Henry, USA Today and New York Times Bestselling novelist of Becoming Mrs. Lewis. 

“Zoe Fishman is a gifted writer; her characters are so alive they seem to breathe. INVISIBLE AS AIR poignantly reveals a family on the point of fracture, each looking for escape, each isolated, each desperate to connect. Though it speaks to one of the most difficult issues facing our nation with wisdom and deep grace, this is not an “issue” book. This is a book about people, flawed but striving, broken but hopeful.  Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.”—Joshilyn Jackson USA TODAY and New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever

“Zoe Fishman writes with tenderness and urgency, with an ear attuned to all the silences, secrets, and strain that frequently capsize modern family life. Invisible as Air is a memorable and compelling read about slipping into darkness and trying to find the light.”   –Kristen Iskandrian, author of Motherest

“Fishman offers a vivid and visceral portrayal of a grieving family as it faces the same loss in profoundly different ways. Invisible As Air explores trauma’s destructive impulses and, ultimately, what it takes to rebuild our lives in the aftermath. It examines the loneliness of grief and also the transformative ways it can bring us together.” — Gabrielle Birkner, co-author, Modern Loss: Candid Conversation About Grief. Beginners Welcome

“The characters in Invisible as Air are so real; so flawed; so compelling and vulnerable. With her trademark wit and honesty, even in the face of sorrow, Fishman will take you on a journey you won’t soon forget.”-– Greer Hendricks, #1 New York Times Bestselling coauthor of An Anonymous Girl


“Sylvie Snow is struggling, though it isn’t apparent from the outside. She has a great career, a triathlete husband, and a fun and quirky son growing up way too quickly—wasn’t it just yesterday he was a toddler? How is it already time to plan his bar mitzvah? Everything is strained for Sylvie, though. She can barely stand it when her husband breaks his ankle and relies on her for every. tiny. thing. She’s disconnected from her family and friends, especially in these last three years since the stillbirth of daughter Delilah. On the anniversary of Delilah’s death, facing another day of playing nursemaid to an increasingly cranky Paul, Sylvie decides to try just one of the hydrocodone pills he was prescribed. He refuses to take any; it won’t be missed, and she’s familiar with the “hillbilly heroin” stories. She is certain she won’t become addicted, but soon Sylvie finds that she’s a better person on the pills: nicer, happier, a better mom and wife. And she needs the pills to be the person she likes. VERDICT A fast-paced, compelling read, Fishman’s latest (after Inheriting Edith) is an excellent choice for book clubs and recommended for fans of Jodi Picoult.” — Starred Library Journal Review

“If you’ve never understood what opiates can do to some people, here’s a good explanation. Sylvie Snow is a typical mother and wife with a job, trying to do all the tasks that are expected of her. And for her, underneath all the daily problems, is the unresolved sadness of losing a still-born daughter three years earlier. She takes one small white pill from her husband Paul’s prescription—he’s laid up with a broken ankle and doesn’t like how they make him feel—and the effect is immediate and wonderful. Suddenly, she is able to handle everything with a smile: the stress of a bar mitzvah for her son Teddy, Paul’s whine from the couch, and even the loss of her job. She promises herself that these pills are temporary fixes.

Along with the excellent writing that makes the reader want to find out what happens, in a way, this novel is an object lesson to all us, that even with the best of intentions of only using the pills for a limited time, one can become addicted. It also comes with the realization that the other members of a family and even strangers want to help in times of need.

A very real story that has the reader wanting Sylvie to find a solution to her problem, and yet it is also a cautionary tale for our time with all its emphasis on quick fixes from doctors and medicines.” – 2020 Georgia Author of the Year: Literary Fiction Winner

“Sylvie Snow is a wife and mother bearing the financial and domestic load for her family all while reeling from the stillborn death of her daughter, Delilah, three years ago. The novel opens as Sylvie is taking care of her recently injured husband Paul. Their sensitive son Teddy is having a hard time connecting to others—both peers and his parents, who are forever changed by their devastating loss. On the anniversary of her daughter’s death, and feeling completely overwhelmed with both her husband’s care and planning her reluctant son’s Bar Mitzvah, Sylvie takes one of her husband’s discarded pain pills and is surprised by how much lighter and more manageable both her grief and her life seem. As Sylvie’s addiction spirals out of control she begins to do things that threaten her family in unimaginable ways and that will reverberate for the rest of their lives. Invisible as Air is a compassionately told and beautifully written story of a family in crisis, one that lingers with the reader long after the last page is read.” –-Kate Whitman, Atlanta History Center

“Fishman’s effec­tive sto­ry­telling demon­strates the strength and also the vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty of fam­i­ly. Apart, Sylvie, Paul, and Ted­dy were unrav­el­ing each in his or her own way. Yet, when final­ly forced to come togeth­er on the same island where tragedy struck years pri­or, the Snow fam­i­ly real­izes that their shared trau­ma is what will keep their fam­i­ly afloat.” — Anas­ta­sia Shy­manovich, Jewish Book Council

“Persisting through unimaginable grief, Fishman has succeeded in publishing a deeply substantive novel that, despite being filled with heartbreaking moments, manages to impart with the reader a sense of connection and resilience. Her writing creeps up on you, like a crescent moon that seems to mysteriously switch sides in the night sky during a drive down a winding highway — taunting, unsettling, beautiful.” —Becca Godwin, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

One of The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s “12 Southern Books to Curl Up With” – September 22. 2019

One of Deep South Magazine’s Best Of Fall/Winter 2019-20

“Fishman’s lively prose, punctuated with volleys of incisive wit and mouthy irreverence, propels the story. This convincing portrayal of a struggling family will captivate readers.” – Publishers Weekly

​One of the 10 Southern Books We Loved in 2019 – Atlanta Journal Constitution


Inheriting Edith book cover - Zoe Fishman

INHERITING EDITH

November 2016 Indie Next List

A poignant breakout novel about a single mother who inherits a beautiful beach house with a caveat—she must take care of the ornery elderly woman who lives in it.

Inheriting Edith is available from Amazon And Indie Bound
To support your local independent bookstore,  purchase from Indie Bound

Inheriting Edith: Reviews

​Beautifully written and emotionally satisfying, this character-driven story carries you along like a familiar-yet-surprisingly fresh melody. I love Fishman’s crisp, accessible style and the way she makes her prose dance on the page. An honest, generous account of life in all its stages, this is a book that’s well worth reading. – Dish Magazine

American Booksellers Association  Indie Next Pick November 2016: “It’s a familiar cast of characters: a single mom raising a spunky kid; an older woman descending into Alzheimer’s; the inhabitants of a small town; a nice eligible man. And then comes the twist: the single mom and the older woman aren’t related by blood, but connected through the older woman’s now deceased daughter. With humor and heart, long-held secrets come to light and special bonds are formed. Inheriting Edith is both entertaining and poignant.” —Jenny Stroyeck, The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK

When housekeeper and single mother Maggie Sheets inherits a house in present day Sag Harbor, N.Y., from her former friend Liza, a famous author, she must decide whether moving in is worth the price of what comes with the bequest: Liza’s 82-year-old mother, Edith. Edith is struggling to deal with her daughter’s death along with increasing symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and she must begrudgingly rely on Maggie in more ways than one. As Maggie and Edith’s relationship develops, Maggie offers to write down Edith’s memories before it’s too late. As secrets are revealed, both women confront issues they thought they had left behind. Fishman (Saving Ruth) combines relatable circumstances and delightful dialogue in this character-driven tale about forgiveness and acceptance, making it a quick read that’s hard to put down. Curmudgeonly yet lovable Edith is a snappy force to be reckoned with, and she demonstrates that even when things don’t go as planned, challenges are not necessarily bad, and a good life can be forged out of bleak situations.–Publisher’s Weekly

“A heartbreaking story about life, love, and friendship that you’ll want to devour in one sitting.” –Erin Duffy, author of LOST ALONG THE WAY

“A beautifully crafted story about second chances and about life’s big surprises. Warm spirited and emotionally rich, Inheriting Edith celebrates the fine line between friendship and family. These characters will tug at your heart.” — Jamie Brenner, author of The Wedding Sisters

Odder things are likely to happen, but inheriting a house in Sag Harbor, NY, is probably close to the top of the list, at least to house cleaner Maggie Sheets. She knew author Liza Brennan, but the two hadn’t been in touch for years, and now Liza is dead, having committed suicide. The gift comes with strings—or, rather, one big string: Liza’s 82-year-old mother, Edith, recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, lives there, too. A single mom with a toddler daughter, Maggie wouldn’t have to work anymore, though housecleaning is how she met her benefactor in the first place. Yet Liza’s death hangs over the residence, and the past doesn’t offer much solace—or many answers. This quirky tale from Fishman (Driving Lessons) drops readers into the middle of a most unconventional situation and lets them flounder along with the characters, who are by turns outspoken, impatient, grumpy, and thoroughly at a loss. Maggie and Edith discover a shared bond and decide, perhaps grudgingly, that it’s never too late to fix one’s mistakes. 
VERDICT Recommended for fans of domestic fiction with a twist. –Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

“Zoe Fishman’s INHERITING EDITH is a tragicomic delight, pairing single mother and professional house cleaner Maggie with prickly, resentful, 82-year-old Edith, thrown together in a Sag Harbor beach house after Edith’s famous author daughter Liza takes her own life–and bequeaths the house and her mother to Maggie, her former friend and employee. Fishman deftly explores the intricate territory of mother-daughter relationships as well as the haunting specter of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for famously independent Edith. Throw in winsome toddler Lucy, the hilarious meddling of best friend/yenta Esther, and an intriguing potential suitor in the form of a local toy store owner, and you have a delicious literary chicken soup for the soul.” –Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of THE WEEKENDERS

“A heartbreaking story about life, love, and friendship that you’ll want to devour in one sitting.” –Erin Duffy, author of LOST ALONG THE WAY

“A beautifully crafted story about second chances and about life’s big surprises. Warm spirited and emotionally rich, Inheriting Edith celebrates the fine line between friendship and family. These characters will tug at your heart.” — Jamie Brenner, author of The Wedding Sisters

“Inheriting Edith is a beautifully written story about what it means to remember and what it means to forget. Fishman masterfully portrays both a single mother and an older woman with Alzheimer’s, as they are both struggling to come to terms with their pasts, their futures, and each other. I loved this compelling and achingly real novel about friendship, family and second chances.” — Jillian Cantor, author of MARGOT and THE HOURS COUNT

DRIVING LESSONS

Sometimes life’s most fulfilling journeys begin without a map 

“Fishman’s sweetly told tale will resonate with readers who desire change in their lives, but it will also touch the hearts of others… believable and authentic.”
— RT Book Reviews

Driving Lessons is available from Amazon And Indie Bound
To support your local independent bookstore,  purchase from Indie Bound

Praise For Driving Lessons: A Novel…

​“At turns funny and poignant, Driving Lessons is a refreshingly honest and insightful story of a woman whose questions about the direction of her life follow her from the big city to small country roads.”
— Meg Donohue, author of All The Summer Girls

A wonderful, witty, and heartfelt journey through some of life’s biggest challenges: marriage, moving, making babies and more
— Jessica Anya Blau, author of The Wonder Bread Summer

“A charming and warm story about new adventures and old friends and how this likable heroine learns to embrace them both.”
— Shelly Noble, NYT bestselling author of Beach Colors

“Insightful and emotionally astute…Fishman demonstrates a rare gift for illuminating the interior lives of women with honesty, generosity and a whole lot of heart.”
— Jillian Medoff, bestselling author of Hunger Point

“Fishman effectively balances humor and tension, crafting an involving portrayal of three women coping with the idea and obstacles of motherhood.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Fishman’s sweetly told tale will resonate with readers who desire change in their lives, but it will also touch the hearts of others… believable and authentic.”
— RT Book Reviews

SAVING RUTH

Saving Ruth is available from Amazon And Indie Bound
To support your local independent bookstore,  purchase from Indie Bound

Saving Ruth: Reviews

It’s impossible not to love Ruth Wasserman, even as she finds it impossible to love herself. Saving Ruth offers a serious-comic look at growing up a sharp-tongued liberal Jewish girl in a conservative Alabama town. – Randy Susan Meyers, bestselling author of The Murderer’s Daughters

Publishers Weekly
Most teens pack on the dreaded “freshman fifteen” their first year at college, but 19-year-old Ruth’s first year triggers an eating disorder that turns the likable smart-aleck pudge into a rail-thin introvert—and unlikely hero. Ruth’s agonizing personal crisis comes to a head during her summer break. “I’m scared of food… scared that I’ll gain weight,” she finally confesses to a nine-year-old girl who idolizes her. Still, Ruth manages to find romance with her brother’s best friend Chris, who sees beyond her delusions. As Ruth battles her demons, her parents struggle with an empty nest and a stale relationship, while “golden child” brother David, guarding a troubling secret, grows weary under the weight of others’ expectations. Ruth and David also face simmering racial and anti-Semitic tensions in their modern-day Southern town—insidious prejudices that rear their heads when Ruth saves a black child who nearly drowns at the pool where Ruth and David are lifeguards. Fishman (Balancing Acts) deftly works a small love story around larger themes of loyalty, courage, and social justice, turning what begins as adolescent angst into a touching bildungsroman.

Booklist
Home from college for the summer with her Jewish family in small-town Alabama, Ruth Wasserman gets a job with her older brother, David, coaching and lifeguarding small kids at the local pool. She is happy to have lost excess weight, a lot of it. Everyone says she is too skinny, but she obsesses: Is it enough? And
what is going on with soccer-star David: Why is he so distant? This could be a YA novel, but adult readers, especially parents, will also be caught up in Ruth’s wry personal narrative about friends, boyfriends, prejudice, self-image, and especially family secrets. Ruth saves a little black girl from drowning in the pool, but why did David miss it? Will the child’s family sue for damages? Ruth covers up for David, until, finally, the star brother reveals his failures. Never heavy-handed, the dialogue is right on, and so are Ruth’s hidden battles with her eating disorder. — Hazel Rochman

Library Journal
After going off to college as a slightly overweight young Jewish woman from the South who lived in the shadow of a golden older brother, Ruth Wasserman returns for summer break anorexic and uncertain. Puzzled by her brother’s emotional distance and frustrated by her anxious parents, she is happiest at the local pool coaching young swimmers and lifeguarding. Oddly enough, even that respite is shattered when Ruth, rather than her brother, saves a young girl from drowning. Instead of being a hero, she becomes the holder of secrets and the potential target of a lawsuit. And to top it all off, Ruth is falling for her brother’s best friend. She could crumble under the tension of competing loyalties, but she’s made of sterner stuff and capable of loving her family enough to see them through a crisis or two. VERDICT Ruth is a likable character facing realistic trials, and her story will appeal to both mothers and college-age daughters. Author interview and book club questions are added bonuses; Fishman is also the author of Balancing Acts.—Jan Blodgett, Davidson Coll. Lib., NC

Stephanie Elliot, She Knows Real Moms Guide & MaNiC MoMMy: “Zoe Fishman took me right back to my 19-year-old self and it felt wonderful to be there, to revisit those feelings, no matter how tumultuous those feelings were at the time.”

Fresh Fiction: “A powerful story about embracing yourself and the truths about those around you.”

She Knows: “When I read Zoe Fishman’s novel, Saving Ruth, I was immediately transported back to my own memories of how my life looked after getting away from it for a while.”

Jennifer Vido: “A truly poignant story worth the read.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/23/12 – Saving Ruth featured as “A Cool Read for Summertime” in their May 23rd edition 

The Book Bag – “The writing just flowed off of the page and into my mind. I felt very comfortable in Ruth’s world right from the start.”

Travel Spot –  “I liked Ruth and her family. I found her believable and likeable and at times both immature and mature for her age. I really wanted her to succeed and I felt that she did, in her own way.”

Tiffany’s Bookshelf – “This book is completely captivating…a wonderful read for the summer. I think (it) will appeal to adult readers, as well as the more mature young adult readers.”

Atlanta Jewish Times, June 8,2012  – “…an ideal summer read…addictive…a great book for mothers and daughters to read together…Of the coming of age stories I have read, Saving Ruth is one of my favorites because it is a modern spin on the classic bildungsroman novel that we read in high school. I highly recommend this book for its fun, easygoing nature and relatable characters.” – Jessie Miller

Cleveland Plain Dealer, June 1, 2012 – “A noteworthy new paperback.”

Reviewed by Mom: …”Fishman does a great job of exploring family dynamics (the perceived “perfect child” vs “the troublemaker”) and I was actually very touched by how the characters of David and Ruth interacted with each other.  The fighting and awkwardness and hurt feelings are something many siblings feel toward one another and (she) nailed this.” 

It’s A Crazy, Beautiful Life: “I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a summer read that is much more than fluff, without being too heavy on the dramatics.”

Small World Reads: “I liked the novel. It took me back to that place and time quite easily—Fishman does a great job of capturing the thoughts of a 19-year-old….I also enjoyed this novel as the parent of two teens because it reminded me about how much our words can affect our kids.”

i write in books:  “A hard look at the way we attach and detach from our families and communities of origin, Saving Ruth is more than a simple anorexia afterschool special. Thick with racial, sexual and other social tension, the book is perfect for those looking for a bit of a heavier summer read.”

Examiner.com:  There’s a certain element of story magic in truly remarkable books. These novels harness the power to take a reader back in time, to propel them into the future, and to make the present feel like a glorious endless moment. They’re the kind of books you don’t ever want to leave, must be forced to put down, and feel like crying when the story is over. SAVING RUTH by Zoe Fishman is that kind of book. It’s a timeless story of a girl coming of age, returning home, and finding herself. – Paige Crutcher

Steph the Bookworm: I would have loved to able to go up to Ruth and give her a hug and tell her she’s a wonderful person and I think you will too.

Jewish Woman Magazine: Saving Ruth featured as one of “8 Books to Enjoy This Summer”

A New York Post Summer Pick: “poignant and gripping”

Jenn’s Bookshelves: A truly rewarding novel, one that I see being discussed at book clubs due to the sheer volume of discussion-worthy topics. It is a novel I devoured in one sitting, a book that took me back to my youth and all the issues of that age. Highly recommended.

Karen White of Home Cooked Books: The title “Saving Ruth” is perfectly apt.  Ruth, working so hard to save her charges on the swim team, the overweight tween she’s strong armed into working out with, as well as her family and friends, finally has to face up that she needs to save herself from herself.  That journey is moving, sometimes hilarious, and overall inspiring.

Lilith Magazine, Summer Issue (Volume 37, No.2): In one of her incisive short poems, the English poet Stevie Smith assumes the voice of a dead man : ‘I was much further out that you thought,’ he moans, ‘I was much too far out all my life / And not waving but drowning.’ Luckily for the heroine of this quietly powerful novel…her friends and family do realize that she is drowning, even while she insists that she is waving. Fishman richly captures the feel of summer evenings in the deep South…and she takes us fully into the struggle of one young woman to allow herself to be saved by the people who love her. – Joyce Zonana

Estelle of Rather Be Reading: Fishman has created a well-written work that manages to weave in various storylines and not pollute the pages with too much of anything. She has a refreshing and simple style that was easy to connect with and I couldn’t put the novel down. (Sidenote: there’s also some romance and I mention that because it’s sweet but also I love how Fishman doesn’t make it bigger than it ought to be.) In fact, I was utterly sad when it was over. In the end this book is about people vying for control of their lives and how that control is so fragile. So it’s also about learning how to let go, go with the flow, and why that isn’t always the easy thing to do.

School Library Journal: This is a well written, quick read with wide teen appeal. Ruth is believable, and her dialogue with David is in true sibling form. The characters are not stereotyped, and the complicated racial tensions, along with Ruth’s concern about beauty and conformity, convey the unique culture of one small southern town.–Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA

The Brooklyn Rail:  Indeed, there’s plenty here for Fishman’s Chick Lit fanbase to chew on: mother-daughter drama, self-esteem issues, the limits of friendship, and—of course—sex and romance. But in Saving Ruth the family is the focus, and Fishman is at her best when delving deep into the ties that bind, especially what happens to siblings embroiled in the kind of trouble that Mom or Dad can’t make go away.  The author’s rendering of Ruth and David’s intertwining fates is the heart and soul of the story. Fishman’s challenge is keeping the sibling story front and center, and this isn’t always easy in a novel that—in addition to anorexia and family dysfunction—also tackles a handful of other social and political “isms.” But the refreshingly frank and bullshit-free portrayal of Ruth and David’s journey to (new) adulthood keeps this book from drowning in issues. – Bernard Lumpkin

Jewish Book Council:  With a less skilled writer, all this could bog down a novel but Fishman achieves the right balance, and coupled with well developed, likable, and three-dimensional characters, the story stays focused and compelling. – Rachel Kamin

BALANCING ACTS

A poignant debut novel about the transformative powers of yoga and friendship for four women on the verge of realizing their dreams

Balancing Acts is available from Amazon And Indie Bound
To support your local independent bookstore,  purchase from Indie Bound

Balancing Acts is available from Amazon And Indie Bound
To support your local independent bookstore,  purchase from Indie Bound

Balancing Acts Review 

“Anyone who has wondered, ‘Now what?’ about her life will relate to Zoe Fishman’s ebullient and wise novel Balancing Acts. The pages flew by and I was sad when my time with these great characters ended—but not too sad to try some yoga.”

Publishers Weekly
Fishman strikes the right balance in her warm-fuzzy debut of rekindled friendship and self-empowerment. When four women who’d gone to college together run into each other at an alumni mixer, an instant bond is formed as Charlie convinces Bess, Naomi, and Sabine to join a beginner yoga class for just the four of them at her Brooklyn yoga studio. During the six weeks of class, the foursome proves to be easy to relate to as each discovers the strength to overcome some obstacle in their life. Bess has hard news aspirations, but is stuck peddling celebrity news at a gossip rag. Single mom Naomi has shuttered her photography career for better-paying Web design work. Sabine has worked at the same publishing house since graduation, shelving her desire to be an author. And though Charlie has taken the leap from her Wall Street career to business owner and yoga instructor, she’s weighed down by the hurt left by an ex-boyfriend. It’s perfectly adequate if not especially distinguished from the trove of other books of female friendship, bonding, and weathering the vicissitudes of life with a little help from a hobby. (Mar.)