Titch

Chaim Bermant, Author St. Martin's Press $13.95 (191p) ISBN 978-0-312-01099-7
With this first installment in a projected trilogy, the prolific author (The Patriarch) once again depicts immigrant Jews assimilating in Great Britain. A rabbi's son and former yeshiva student who himself emigrated some years ago from Russia to the United Kingdom, Bermant is a shrewd but loving storyteller, and he limns WW II Britain and the Jewish milieu with acuity, buoying a familiar coming-of-age plot with wry humor and deft characterization. Foremost among the engaging, authentic characters is his protagonist Sammy Hoch, or Titch, whose Yiddish-speaking parents, ""making desperate efforts to turn native,'' address him only in English, ``with the result that until I was about six we were virtually incommunicado.'' Short and bookish, and afflicted with the double burden of being Jewish and Polish by birth, Titch enlists in the British army but ends up, alas, in a Polish army regiment stationed in Britain. There he is made acolyte to an apostate rabbi, an immigrant who assumed an ecclesiastic role as a ticket to England (if his sponsors ``had asked me to become a juggler, I would have become a juggler, and I would probably have enjoyed it more''). Bermant followers won't be surprised that Titch's ``most important experience of the war'' is an encounter with a married woman. Readers will be eager to pursue Titch and his adventures in the forthcoming sequels. (November 25)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
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