The Golems of Gotham: A Novel

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9780060184902: 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. Not to their double suicide inside a Miami synagogue, not to the horrors they endured in the Nazi concentration camps. He also hasnt thought much about his wife, who vanished inexplicably a decade earlier. Now, after years of uninterrupted literary output, Oliver Levin finds himself blocked as a writer, too.

The only person aware of Oliver's anguish is his teenage daughter, Ariel, who lives with him on Edgar Allan Poe Street in Manhattan, longing for the grandparents she never knew and the mother she never had. An amateur kabbalist and suddenly a klezmer violin virtuoso, Ariel sets out to rescue her father from his demons and denial by summoning the people who she thinks hold the key to Oliver's emotional black hole -- his dead parents, Rose and Lothar.

Inspired by the tale of the Golem of Prague, Ariel resurrects her grandparents as creatures of rescue, but they come back as ghosts with a plan of their own. Moreover, they don't come back alone; their entourage includes six famous writers -- all, including Primo Levi and Jerzy Kosinski, Holocaust survivors and suicide victims.

Trekking through the surreal, millennial landscape, the Golems of Gotham transform Manhattan and take Ariel and Oliver on an achingly symbolic and hilarious journey that confronts the mysteries and the conflicted legacy left to the post-Holocaust world.

Highly original and deeply insightful, The Golems of Gotham is a novel of moral philosophy that explores the relationship between art and atrocity, the artist's romance with madness, and his responsibility to history. Part ghost story, part mystery, it offers lasting commentary on the preservation and reinvention of memory, and the power of the mind to conjure both its own prison and liberation.

On the surface a poignant story about a child's longing to save her father and a mystery writer's quest to decipher the riddle of his own life, The Golems of Gotham is a work of staggering imagination that explores some of the most haunting, unanswered questions of our time.

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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 is the author of Second Hand Smoke and Elijah Visible. He lives in New York City with his daughter, Basia Tess.

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Book Description Harper, 2002. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: 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. Not to their double suicide inside a Miami synagogue, not to the horrors they endured in the Nazi concentration camps. He also hasnt thought much about his wife, who vanished inexplicably a decade earlier. Now, after years of uninterrupted literary output, Oliver Levin finds himself blocked as a writer, too.The only person aware of Oliver's anguish is his teenage daughter, Ariel, who lives with him on Edgar Allan Poe Street in Manhattan, longing for the grandparents she never knew and the mother she never had. An amateur kabbalist and suddenly a klezmer violin virtuoso, Ariel sets out to rescue her father from his demons and denial by summoning the people who she thinks hold the key to Oliver's emotional black hole -- his dead parents, Rose and Lothar.Inspired by the tale of the Golem of Prague, Ariel resurrects her grandparents as creatures of rescue, but they come back as ghosts with a plan of their own. Moreover, they don't come back alone; their entourage includes six famous writers -- all, including Primo Levi and Jerzy Kosinski, Holocaust survivors and suicide victims.Trekking through the surreal, millennial landscape, the Golems of Gotham transform Manhattan and take Ariel and Oliver on an achingly symbolic and hilarious journey that confronts the mysteries and the conflicted legacy left to the. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0060184906

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