While the Messiah Tarries: Selected Poems

Melvin Jules Bukiet, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $20 (240p) ISBN 978-0-15-100083-8
The mundane and the mystical collide in these remarkable, offbeat stories that use a Jewish-American milieu to pose universal moral and metaphysical puzzles. In ``Gematria,'' a Manhattan jewelry dealer encounters a mysterious woman who wants a square emerald; a series of murders follows, accompanied by cryptic messages that reveal the murderer's familiarity with gematria, the kabbalistic discipline of calculating the numerical value of words in order to reveal ``the secret truths evident beneath the surface of the language.'' In ``The Big Metzia,'' a New York garment manufacturer copes with a ghost as he teams up in business with two shady Russian emigre brothers who lead him through the entrepreneurial minefields of glasnost-era Moscow. Bukiet (Sandman's Dust) creates memorable, maverick characters who live on the edge, treading a dangerous path between the sacred and the profane: a Columbia archeologist on a dig in the Near East believes he has unearthed the birthplace of the eternal monotheistic God (``Old Words for New''); a New Jersey real-estate lawyer tracks down a crackpot German refugee peddling a rare Nazi home movie (``Himmler's Chickens''); a dishonest Kosher butcher is a closet vegetarian (``The Golden Calf and the Red Heifer''); an upstate New York rabbi tries to outwit the devil (``The Devil and the Dutchman''). Bukiet is a gifted, inventive writer whose fine sense of contrast is evident not only in his eerie juxtapositions but also in moments of perfect comic timing. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.