Winter Eyes: A Novel about Secrets

Lev Raphael, Author
Lev Raphael, Author St. Martin's Press $18.95 (245p) ISBN 978-0-312-08338-0
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-0-312-10576-1
Paperback - 245 pages - 978-0-85449-213-8
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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. (Nov . )
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