Fiction Robert Cohen The Organ Builder

ISBN 13: 9780060159092

The Organ Builder

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9780060159092: The Organ Builder

Disillusioned with his life and troubled by a mysterious past, corporate lawyer Hesh Freeman agrees to help two filmmakers with their project about his long-lost father, who helped build the A-bomb

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From Publishers Weekly:

In this disappointing first novel, the son of a nuclear scientist who served with J. Robert Oppenheimer's team at Los Alamos during World War II meanders through his past and present. Herschel Freeman, an attorney with a Wall Street firm specializing in copyright law, had an unhappy childhood. After growing up in the secluded New Mexico center where the atomic bomb was developed, he and his lonesome, alcoholic mother were deserted by his father. Now, in the late '70s, Hesh himself is separated from his wife and son. A husband-and-wife team collaborating on a film about the Manhattan Project approach him shortly before he is assigned, conveniently enough, to a case in New Mexico near his boyhood haunts, where a search for his father, adulterous love and the meaning of life ensues. Cohen, who has previously published short stories, has a style that teeters between extremes. When he writes seriously, his prose is exaggeratedly lyrical and self-involved. When he attempts a Jewish, wiseguy voice, he is never as clever as he apparently intends to be. Occasionally, his flashbacks to the exciting years at Los Alamos are engaging, but the novel makes no substantial fictional contribution to our understanding of the troubled legacy of those who invented the atomic bomb.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

Herschel Freeman, nee Friedman, is a young man adrift. His job as a copyright lawyer with a major Wall Street firm offers little satisfaction, his marriage has recently dissolved, and his relationship with his seven-year-old son is tenuous. Then he is visited by a documentary film producer interested in tracking down Herschel's father, a physicist involved in the development of the atomic bomb who has since vanished into thin air. This encounter leads Herschel to re-examine his past, something he has long avoided though it seems to lie at the heart of his malaise. As he puts it, like the atom "memory . . . possesses within it the potential, should one of its own neurons be captured by a hardy nucleus, for fission." Although the prose occasionally seems excessive, this is generally a well-conceived, carefully researched, and articulate first novel. David W. Henderson, Eckerd Coll. Lib., St. Petersburg, Fla.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Cohen,Robert
Published by Harper & Row (1988)
ISBN 10: 006015909X ISBN 13: 9780060159092
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