From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The autobiographical latest from acclaimed Israeli novelist Kaniuk (after The Last Jew) is a masterwork of technical virtuosity and tough sentiment. Wounded in Israel's 1948 war, narrator Kaniuk arrives in New York penniless and decides to become a painter. Settling in Greenwich Village, his circle includes Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday, James Dean, Tennessee Williams, and Marlon Brando, but Kaniuk never loses sight of his minor role in their stories: "I was in the lives of these people by mistake." Kaniuk marries a Broadway dancer and finds excitement everywhere, whether it's pretending to be a Soviet defector to score a dance with Ginger Rogers, or spontaneously pitching a film director. But the wonder is tempered by a tough streak: Kaniuk often behaves badly, and these lapses pass without introspection; even when his frequently betrayed wife lays out his faults, Kaniuk refuses to own or reject the problem. He's equally unforgiving with others: Wally Cox and Miles Davis are depicted as monsters; novelist James Jones is portrayed as sentimental and naïve. An essential novel about boho New York, this is not to be missed. (Feb.)
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“I am convinced that he is one of the masters of contemporary fiction. There is his inordinate technical skill, fecundity of incident and character, and overall intensity.” (Chicago Tribune)
“The problems posed by Yoram Kaniuk go to the heart of modern man’s deepest longings and emotional needs. His keen vision is unhesitatingly centered on what history may regard as the most characteristic experience of our unfortunate age, and this is true of few writers today. He is an enormous talent, both as an artificer of plot and as a virtuoso of language.” (Saturday Review)