Hilma Wolitzer Critical Essays


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Hilma Wolitzer 1930–

American novelist for adults and young adults.

Wolitzer's strength rests in her ability to show the extraordinary in the lives of ordinary people. Her heroines, whether adolescent or adult, all tend toward introspection, and all seek independence while hoping not to sacrifice love. The protagonist of her first novel, Ending, is a young suburban homemaker whose 32-year-old husband is dying of bone cancer; the force and immediacy of Wolitzer's account has caused some critics to wonder if the story were autobiographical.

Introducing Shirley Braverman, Wolitzer's first novel for young adults, takes place in Brooklyn during World War II and seems to depend on the author's own memories of adolescence. Ironically, this novel has been faulted for lacking the psychological depth and credibility of her other works. (See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 65-68.)