The House of Moses All-Stars

Charley Rosen, Author
Charley Rosen, Author Seven Stories Press $24.95 (496p) ISBN 978-1-888363-33-3
Reviewed on: 07/01/2003
Release date: 11/01/1996
Paperback - 456 pages - 978-0-15-600570-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-57631-5
Paperback - 482 pages - 978-1-60980-371-1
Open Ebook - 978-1-60980-232-5
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With a premise that sounds like an urban legend, college basketball coach Rosen launches his seventh book on basketball (after the novel The Cockroach Basketball League), taking readers on a wild road trip in a renovated hearse with ""seven jumbo Jews."" In the midst of the Depression, Aaron Steiner joins a Jewish professional basketball team, the House of Moses All-Stars, on a cross-country tour from New York to California. In addition to Aaron, who joined the team after losing his baby, his wife and his dreams of basketball success, the players in the hearse include a Communist, a Zionist, a bank robber and a redheaded Irishman posing as a Jew. All are running from problems at home and hope to be ""an example or something."" But the boys get lost before they leave N.Y.C.--and, unfortunately, so does the reader. Set against the hardship and fear of the times, the novel seems to hope to explore what it means to be an outsider in America. Yet, while Rosen is long on road-trip atmosphere (bored waitresses, lukewarm bowls of oatmeal and dank locker rooms), he is short on character development and plot. A string of racial epithets and stereotypes, for example, is what constitutes an exploration of racism here. The narrative is littered with sophomoric sex jokes and lame vulgarities: ""Looking back, I can hardly recall anything that I learned in my classroom. Oh yes... from my anatomy class--the handbone connected to the dick bone""--a joke that provides an apt, if unfortunate, metaphor for the spirit of this novel. (Dec.)
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