The Druggist

Sam Fishman, Author L. Stuart $14.95 (218p) ISBN 978-0-8184-0481-8
Pharmacist and poet Fishman begins his first novel with his hero ruminating as he sits in the bathroom attending his needs; the image will be a turn-off to many readers. Druggist Henry Rubel leads such a common life as he assembles his Lower East Side business and looks after his family in the years from the late '40s to the early '70s that he hardly leaves an impression. His youthful years choosing a profession and meeting his wife are barely eventful. Unhappy in his marriage, he takes as mistress a Puerto Rican bank clerk living in a building he has bought through the profits of his growing pharmacy and his landlady's generosity. His son Eli matures, showing an interest in Jewish spirituality and in a career as a writer. Occasionally, Fishman manages to capture the flavor of a Lower East Side where different ethnic groups mingled in harmony. But too often, this novel reads like a meandering diary that has greater significance for its writer than for anyone else. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/1988
Release date: 11/01/1988
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