God's Ear

Rhoda Lerman, Author Henry Holt & Company $19.95 (309p) ISBN 978-0-8050-0413-7
Like a Chagall painting translated to print, this passionate, hilarious, God-infused novel centers on Yussell Fetner, Hasidic rabbi turned rich insurance salesman. His clients think he has the gift of prophecy, inherited from his rabbi father, whose own prophetic gifts descend directly from King David. Summoned from Far Rockaway to Kansas by his dying father, Yussel finds himself on a journey into the desert to locate an assemblage of three palm trees and a tent, where, the Rabbi announces, God has decreed that Yussel must found his congregation. Yussel explodes: he doesn't want a congregation, especially not in Kansas; he wants to be in Rockaway selling insurance. But he hasn't time to argue becuase his father dies almost at once (though he returns from time to time to guide Yussel in his ascent toward oneness with the Almighty). The incongruities of Talmudic worship in Kansas are further leavened by ribald Yiddishisms, and solemnized by informed reference to Jewish law. The very opposite of a minimalist, Lerman ( The Book of the Night ) proves herself mistress not only of side-splitting one-liners but also of pregnant perceptions about faith and virtue. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
Paperback - 309 pages - 978-0-8156-0427-3
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4683-1140-2
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