Jacob Horowitz, a worn and bitter business tycoon, had never spoken to anyone about his experience of Nazi persecution during World War II - not even his recently deceased wife, Liza. Suddenly striken with terminal cancer, the aging Jew receives an invitation from his old friend Pierre, a Gentile Christian and former Belgian underground operative, to pay him one last visit in Belgium. Jacob accepts, and determines to take along his estranged son Isaac. In this fast-paced, vivid historical account set alternately in war-torn Europe and today's United States, the consequences of war become clear. Momentous events push the hardened Horowitz toward reconciliation with his youngest son, with his past, with God, and with himself.
In this fast-paced, vivid historical account, set alternately in war-torn Europe and today's United States, an aging Holocaust survivor attempts reconciliation with his youngest son, with his past, and with himself.
When businessman Jacob Horowitz is diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decides
to make peace with his estranged son, Isaac, and with his past. Jacob sees
novelist Isaac's use of the pen name "Jack Oxford" as a denial of his Jewish
heritage and of the suffering the Horowitz family endured during World War II.
However, Isaac knows nothing of the family history, since his father never
shared the horrors of the past nor the reasons for hiding his faith. As the
two strong-willed men revisit Jacob's old friends and memories, Jacob's story
unfolds in flashbacks. The crusty old man metamorphoses into a frightened
little boy fleeing Nazis again in his mind. This powerful, poignant journey
of discovery by Belliveau (Say to This Mountain) is suitable for all
collections. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this refreshingly unpredictable Christian novel, Belliveau fictionalizes the
boyhood experiences of an actual Belgian Holocaust survivor, and in doing so
avoids compressing events into the tired formulas upon which Christian and
historical fiction so often rely. As readers get to know Jacob Horowitz, now an
elderly Cleveland businessman, through flashbacks to his harrowing wartime
experiences in the Belgian underground, we never know what to expect. Each
character, whether Jew, Nazi or Christian, is multidimensional, and each
vignette from Jacob's young life vibrates with the strangeness of truth. For
example, when Jacob is torn between the faith of his Christian protectors and
the Jewish identity his mother insists he maintain, Belliveau renders each
perspective sympathetically, helping readers understand why, in the face of
this dilemma as well as wartime horrors, Jacob chooses, for most of his adult
life, to close down spiritually and emotionally. Interestingly, this novel
focuses as much on Jacob's late-in-life emotional catharsis as it does on his
spiritual quest, suggesting that the two are inextricably bound. Belliveau's
exploration of Jacob's emotional life departs radically from the norms of many
Christian novels written by men; instead of trading on gender stereotypes that
glorify male strength and stoicism, Belliveau shows how young Jacob's stoicism
emerged when he found himself overwhelmed by pain and rage. Jacob's attempts to
face difficult memories and relationships in the narrative present suggest
redemption, but readers are left to imagine how that redemption will play out.
(Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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