The wily and seductive Epstein (The Eighth Wonder of the World, 2006) continues his impish mixing of fact and fantasy as he picks up the story of musician, rascal, and Holocaust survivor Leib Goldkorn. Last seen in Ice Fire Water (1999), Leib is now 103 and as lusty as ever. Feeling suicidal under a restraining order for pestering book critic Michiko Kakutani and the threat of eviction, he is saved by an invitation to return to his Czech hometown as the last living “home-born” Jew. In Jihlava, he acts like a buffoon and is treated like a king until it becomes clear that he is actually a hostage. Amid the chaos, he discovers his secret connection to Gustav Mahler and is sent back to New York to stage Mahler’s allegedly long-lost opera. As his hero capers about like an escapee from a Chagall painting, stumbling from crisis to crisis in this deliriously ribald, shrewdly orchestrated, and covertly hard-punching comic farce, Epstein blasts hypocrisy and extremism, embraces life’s glory and absurdity, and mourns humanity’s unending legacy of sorrows. --Donna Seaman
About the Author
Leslie Epstein has written eight books of fiction including King of the Jews, San Remo Drive, and Pandemonium and won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Distinguished Achievement in Literature for his creation of Leib Goldkorn. The director of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University, he lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.