Friday Fiction with Elaine Durbach Norstein, Roundabout

Friday Fiction with Elaine Durbach Norstein, Roundabout

October 14, 2022
10:30 AM


The Lessans Family Literary Series Presents:

Friday Fiction with Elaine Durbach Norstein, Roundabout

Friday, October 14 |10:30 AM | Free | Virtual – Via Zoom

The Lessans Family Literary Series is pleased to present the first installation of our four-part Friday Fiction series. We are thrilled to welcome Elaine Durbach Norstein for this first installment of our virtual book club style program. Elaine will discuss her debut novel, Roundabout, and will be in conversation with JCC community member and author Deborah Kalb.


In her first novel, Roundabout, author Elaine Norstein Durbach has drawn on over four decades as a journalist, interviewing people in South Africa and the United States. The result is a story of love that combines the human dynamics and social forces that have fascinated her in both societies.

When Felix, the love of Sally’s life, dies suddenly, the former dancer is furious with him and herself. Sally, a dance teacher and the child of Holocaust survivors, has lived in fear of loved ones suddenly disappearing, and Felix’s death triggers deep soul searching. Though now almost 70, she finds herself knocked off balance by the same doubts that drove the two of them apart in their youth. Did he really love her? And if he did, why did it take them so long to find joy together finally?

Sally’s thoughts cycle back through time as she struggles to settle his affairs in the windswept seaside home outside Cape Town where they had recently settled down. She recalls how they first met as students in South Africa and then crossed paths through the decades when both had settled in the USA.

To find a way forward without him, she needs to understand how they helped and hindered one another, and how for her the love can continue to grow.


Born in what is now Zimbabwe, Elaine grew up in Zambia and Lesotho and went on to study journalism at Rhodes University in South Africa. In 1978 she won a World Press Institute Fellowship that brought her to the United States. She returned to serve as a New York correspondent for South Africa’s Morning Group newspapers, and then, while freelancing, worked periodically for the United Nations Department of Public Information. She has written for the New Jersey Jewish News since 2001 and served as Bureau Chief of its Central NJ edition, winning two New Jersey Press Association awards for her profiles.

Elaine is the author of two non-fiction books, With Mixed Feelings – a study of life during Apartheid in the mixed-race areas of Cape Town, and The Wild Realms – an overview of South Africa’s different geographic regions. Roundabout is her first work of fiction. Two other novels are in the pipeline. She continues to write articles for various periodicals and edits books and articles for other writers.

Elaine lives in Maplewood, NJ, with her husband and son.