When Jasper Whiting, a successful plastic surgeon, leaves his family to live alone in a run-down block of houses in Boston's North End, he does not imagine how his life and what he has lived for will be transformed by his relations with the people he meets in that unpromising setting: by the bizarrely beautiful, strangely wise one-legged model, Luigi Sasekawa; by the quadraplegic boy upstairs, who inspires devotion in the people who help to take care of him; and most of all by Rhoda, a remarkable woman, teacher of the handicapped and later the director of a guerrilla opera for and about them, whom Jasper comes to love. And when the physically handicapped of the city begin to band together under a charismatic leader who means to make a revolution with these "wretched of the earth," Jasper too is forced to declare himself in his actions, as nothing in his past life has brought him to do.
Don Bloch's fifth novel–solidly contemporary in its spirit and in its setting of urban violence, but strangely visionary in its theme–is at once comic, troubling, and passionate. Like Jasper Whiting, its readers may be first taken aback and then compelled by this adventurous fiction.
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Don Bloch was born in New York City in 1943. Educated at Harvard and at Oxford, he has traveled widely in the Middle East, Africa, and Indonesia. Besides his novels, he has published Passing Through, a sequence of three long stories based on his travels. At present he lives in Amsterdam.From Publishers Weekly:
This distinctive novel is that rare book that takes an issue--the exploitation and isolation of the handicapped and the disabled--and places it within the context of society at large. Boston plastic surgeon Jasper Whiting leaves his wife and children to live in a dump of an apartment in Boston's squalid North End. Almost immediately, he meets Rhoda, a mercurial yet courageous woman who teaches "special" children. Through her, he encounters an extraordinary riff-raff of personalities: Luigi, the one-legged gay photographer who is catapulted to stardom as a model; the deaf-mute Anselmo, whose handicaps obscure his brilliant mind; Alex Thane, a priest lately back from Lebanon where he witnessed the massacre of his disabled students. Not least of them is Rhoda herself, the ringleader and inspiration to this unusual crew, which Bloch ( Passing Through ) brings to life with brio . Sometimes humorous, sometimes haunting, never sentimental, this novel is as compelling in its candor as it is fantastical in its tale.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description New Amsterdam Books, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0941533670
Book Description New Amsterdam Books, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0941533670
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