The Lion Seeker

Kenneth Bonert. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $28 (576p) ISBN 978-0-547-89804-9
“A Stupid or a Clever, a lion or a lamb”: this refrain follows Isaac Helger as he comes of age in South Africa in the ’20s and ’30s. Both of Isaac’s immigrant Jewish parents suffered in anti-Semitic Europe, but they’ve learned opposite lessons from their respective ordeals. His iron-willed, mysteriously scarred mother teaches him to put himself first, to take rather than give—because if given the chance, anyone else would do the same. But his father favors a life of peaceful labor, preferring happiness to materialism. Which legacy will Isaac choose as he tries to strike it rich, woo an upper-class “goy” girl, and retaliate against anti-Semites? Bonert’s minorities are not blameless victims: unable to see the similarity between the persecution of Jews and blacks, Isaac is a bigot, too. When Hitler’s onslaught begins, endangering the Helgers’ Lithuanian relatives, Isaac must decide which comes first: his own dreams or the lives of others. His is a story of fighting and deciding what’s worth fighting for, of cultivating a strength that doesn’t erase empathy. Bonert’s debut is lengthy, but the pages turn quickly, with suspenseful prose and colorful vernacular dialogue that could easily be used in a blockbuster film. Agent: Don Fehr, Trident. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013
Release date: 10/15/2013
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-307-36214-8
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-544-33451-9
Paperback - 576 pages - 978-0-307-36213-1
Open Ebook - 576 pages - 978-0-547-89841-4
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-4097-7
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