icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

My Works

Summer Lightning

“This touching historical novel finds a Jewish family facing prejudice and embracing equality in 20th-century New York....Silman's lyrical writing quickly immerses readers...Yet what will resonate most with readers is Silman's intensely emotional depiction of the Kaplows' commitment to family and helping others. Silman portrays the Kaplows as genuine people who manage to instill true integrity in their children.”
—Publishers Weekly, Lightning Bolt, Booklife Reviews


Buy Summer Lightning at amazon.com

Secrets and Shadows

“Silman's moving, intricate family saga delves into horrific childhood trauma and how it reverberates for years. Readers looking for the intersection of the historical and the personal will be rewarded.”

Publishers Weekly


“A harrowing story that readers will find compelling to the very end.”

—Starred Review, Kirkus


Secrets and Shadows is a penetrating psychological novel that plumbs the depths of how an individual's guilty secrets can undermine his inner life and his marriage. Silman's lucid and penetrating prose moves readers as far as possible toward the answers with grace and compassion.”

—Philip K. Jason, Jewish Book Council


“Poetic and emotional, Secrets and Shadows by Roberta Silman explores marriage, forgiveness, and trauma through the lens of a man reliving his childhood with his Jewish family in Nazi Germany...Secrets and Shadows is captivating historical fiction, blending huge events and minutiae with grace and detail.”

Foreword Review


Buy Secrets and Shadows at amazon.com

Blood Relations

“[Here is]...the great joy and suffering...that come from being attached to places, to things, to other people...When we are told the ego...is the proper stage, Roberta Silman is giving back the reader history, in all its connections: soil, blood, tribe, family.”

—Melvin Maddocks


“Like Elizabeth Cullinan, Silman intuits, in these sixteen stories, the intimate languages and ritual silences of Family—parents and children, brothers and sisters—and the investments of love and governance made in each other's lives. Silman's middle-class, New York Jewish families are moored in second-generation stability...Commitment to family animates each dialogue and gathering—from the dark parlors of the old to the cluttered rooms of remembered childhoods. Several of these stories have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker.”

—Starred review, Kirkus


"Warm, human, bittersweet stories from an accomplished teller of tales.”

—Starred review, Publishers Weekly


“In her first novel Silman manages satire and faith, fire and calm with force and delicacy...A splendid talent...She shows remarkable strengths, not the least of which is her attentive familiarity with the setting she's chosen. Tolstoy and Henry James would be writing about characters as sophisticated and engaged with life as her Mady and Hans if they were writing today.”

The Boston Globe


“A warm and gentle tale of the return of a widow to wholeness. A quiet, unpressured story.”

The New York Times Book Review


“Roberta Silman is a graceful, patient writer.”

The New Yorker


“[A} gentle, middle-age love story...steadied by Silman's thoughtful attention to the slow evolution from a past of grief and alienation.”


The Dream Dredger

“A novel of ever-growing emotional intensity...drama and suspense, magnitude and integrity.”

—James McConkey, author of  Court of Memory


“A lyrical, sad and beautifully rendered story about the power of family love and the intrusions of time, place and history....One of the most attractive things about this attractive novel is its loving description of the [Hudson], its lore and its effect as a mirror and consoler of the lives of the novel's sturdy, vivid, and affecting characters”

—Starred review, Kirkus Reviews


“In a beautifully crafted novel, Silman unravels the life of Lise Branson...[and] does a remarkable job of depicting the qualities of the river—its majesty, practicality, and danger as integral parts of Lise's life.”


Beginning the World Again: A Novel of Los Alamos

“Roberta Silman has done a truly masterful job pf bringing together the complex parts of the Los Alamos story—the science, the history, the place, the personal lives.”—Helen Del Monte, Books and Fiction Editor, McCalls


“I like Beginning the World Again a lot, especially the way Roberta Silman deals with time. Her portrait of Los Alamos rings true.”

—Freeman Dyson


“Filtering the narrative through the character of bright, vivacious Lily Fialka and her brilliant young husband, the author deftly interweaves details of family life with the larger issues spurred by the scientists' deadly work.”



“[An] interesting fictional look at the human side of the Los Alamos experience.”

—Southwest Review of Books

Somebody Else's Child

Winner of the Child Study Association Award, 1976.


This children's book concentrates on Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo.