From Publishers Weekly
This strongly affecting coming-of-age novel by the author of Dancing on Tisha B'Av concerns Stefan Borowski, the son of Polish Holocaust survivors living in Manhattan. Stefan spends his childhood in a hermetically sealed world created by his parents, who shield him from any knowledge of their terrible experiences. Raphael expertly evokes the feelings of an only child growing up among secretive, angry adults, his principal solace a deep attachment to his Uncle Sasha, an unmarried music teacher who teaches him to play the piano. In the novel's middle section, the Borowskis have divorced and Stefan, by his own choice, lives with Sasha. Feeling estranged both from his parents and from most of his high-school classmates, he finds release in a romantic affair with another teenage boy. The book's final chapters contain further revelations, as Stefan begins to deal with his own emotions, his mother's remarriage, his father's sudden illness and his first sexual relationship with a woman. In spare and controlled prose, Raphael captures the ambiguity, ambivalence and anger of this singular family, giving its members depth and credibility. His stringent honesty in depicting the often unappealing Borowskis makes their private anguish and their peculiar solutions compelling.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"Raphael's book resembles a piano sonata, a piece he knows so well that his fingers breathed the music."
--Los Angeles Times
"One of the most affecting, absorbing, and quietly powerful American coming-of-age novels"
"Raphael is a writer of vision like Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin."
--Jewish Bulletin of San Francisco
"Raphael writes about the legacy of the Holocaust in a way few writers can. About remembering and trying not to remember, and about what people do to survive the darkness of their own past."
"Raphael handles grand themes: loneliness, separation, desire and the struggle with gay identity, daring his readers to contemplate wholeness."