The Golems of Gotham: A Novel

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9780060959456: The Golems of Gotham: A Novel

Many years have passed since Oliver Levin - a bestselling mystery writer and a lifetime sufferer from blocked emotions - has given any thought to his parents, Holocaust survivors who committed suicide. But now, after years of uninterrupted literary output, Oliver Levin finds himself blocked as a writer, too. Oliver's fourteen-year-old daughter, Ariel, sets out to free her father from his demons by summoning the ghosts of his parents, but, along the way, the ghosts of Primo Levi, Jerzy Kosinski, and Paul Celan, among others, also materialize in this novel of moral philosophy and unforgettable enchantment.

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Review:

At the beginning of Thane Rosenbaum's imaginative comedy The Golems of Gotham, an elderly pair of Holocaust survivors, Lothar and Rose Levin, commit suicide. Their son, Oliver, a successful New York mystery writer already suffering from his wife's desertion and a crippling case of writer's block, is devastated by the news. Oliver's 14-year-old daughter, Ariel, comes to the rescue, conjuring not only her grandparents from the grave but also a remarkable group of Jewish literary golems (ghosts, in this case) who also killed themselves after a lifetime of Holocaust memories. Among the visitors here to inspire Oliver toward writing a serious second novel are Primo Levi, Jerzy Kosinski, and Paul Celan. While Oliver writes feverishly, the ghosts cleanse New York City of any reminders of oppression toward Jews: tattoos, crew cuts, overcrowded trains, striped uniforms, and smoke belching from tall stacks.

The Golems of Gotham is quick-witted and a lot of fun, but there comes a point at which the reader might reasonably wonder whether this material is going to lead somewhere. It's one thing to drag Levi and the other golems (including Jean Amery, Piotr Rawicz, and Tadeusz Borowski) into a self-serving comedy, but to do so in a story context that invites, but doesn't deliver, contemplation about the relationship between art and memory is wasteful. --Tom Keogh

About the Author:

Thane Rosenbaum teaches courses in human rights, legal humanities, and law and literature at Fordham Law School. He is also an award-winning novelist (The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and Elijah Visible). His essays appear frequently in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and other national publications. He lives in New York City with his daughter, Basia Tess.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Many years have passed since Oliver Levin -- a bestselling mystery writer and a lifetime sufferer from blocked emotions -- has given any thought to his parents, Holocaust survivors who committed suicide. But now, after years of uninterrupted literary output, Oliver Levin finds himself blocked as a writer, too. Oliver s fourteen-year-old daughter, Ariel, sets out to free her father from his demons by summoning the ghosts of his parents, but, along the way, the ghosts of Primo Levi, Jerzy Kosinski, and Paul Celan, among others, also materialize in this novel of moral philosophy and unforgettable enchantment. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060959456

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Inc, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Many years have passed since Oliver Levin -- a bestselling mystery writer and a lifetime sufferer from blocked emotions -- has given any thought to his parents, Holocaust survivors who committed suicide. But now, after years of uninterrupted literary output, Oliver Levin finds himself blocked as a writer, too. Oliver s fourteen-year-old daughter, Ariel, sets out to free her father from his demons by summoning the ghosts of his parents, but, along the way, the ghosts of Primo Levi, Jerzy Kosinski, and Paul Celan, among others, also materialize in this novel of moral philosophy and unforgettable enchantment. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060959456

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