Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Is the Appeal to Readers of a Grand Saga?

         I've written a number of novels, including A Question of Proofhttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif or A Question of Proofhttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif (Kindle); Star Time: New Version & New Introductionhttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif or Star Timehttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif (Kindle) and Birthrighthttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif or Birthrighthttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif (Kindle). In writing my novel DEEDS Deedshttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif or Deedshttp://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/x-locale/common/carrot._V192251235_.gif (Kindle), I wanted to explore how events over generations and secrets buried in the past have repercussions in the present. That was true also of my novel BIRTHRIGHT. I believe there are still readers who enjoy savoring what I hope I have delivered in each: a satisfying story on the scale of real life.

         Here’s an excerpt from DEEDS of the moments after Abe Weintraub has taken Ralph, his son-in-law, and Gail, his daughter, on a tour of the Lower East Side where he and his family and Ralph’s family, too, first settled in America; the tour reveals so much about his roots that Ralph never imagined:

         As it once had to Raphael, it came also now to Ralph that he somehow shared with the Jews who had struggled to survive in and then to transcend this neighborhood a common culture and values passed down by generations of Jews, among them Raphael and Sally [Ralph’s grandparents], who were endowed with the strength to brave the journey here and seek a better life. They knew no one. They may have not have been able speak the language. And yet they strove and succeeded. One of their beliefs, Ralph mused, was that life rewarded virtues like honoring one’s father. In that regard he had fulfilled the mandate of his Jewish heritage. In contrast, his father had treated that blind loyalty as gullibility, exploitable when expedient. Had his parents, Raphael and Sally, set his father that example by abandoning their Jewish identities? . . .
         Gail asked Ralph whether he felt saddened or disillusioned by what he had learned about his grandmother’s true background and his grandfather’s original homeland.
         “At first, like a kid who’s had his candy stolen. But then I realized that if they had been accepted where they came from, they never would have put themselves through hell to travel here. They came because of the opportunities, believing that they could do anything here if they tried hard enough, even re-invent themselves into brand-new people. It makes me feel kind of proud. My grandparents did whatever they had to do to make their way.”
         “They couldn’t change the important things about themselves. That’s what my father seemed to think.”
         Ralph nodded. “And maybe it took them a long while to understand what was important and what wasn’t.” He reflected on that for a moment and then said, “I don’t feel more Jewish or less Christian now than before. What I really feel is richer, in a way I hadn’t expected.”

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