Passage from Home

Isasc Rosenfeld, Author, Isaac Rosenfeld, Author, Mark Shechner, Designed by Markus Wiener Publishers $9.94 (280p) ISBN 978-0-910129-75-6
``I remember the year in which I first felt respect for human intelligence. I was 14, a precocious child, as sensitive as a burn. Human intelligence meant my own,'' provocatively begins this classic bildungsroman set in Chicago of the early 1930s. Best remembered as a ``New York intellectual'' with a regular critical presence in the pages of the Partisan Review and the New Republic, Rosenfeld pits alter ego Bernard Miller against his father in an age-old generational battle: ``I knew what fathers must feel when children break away; when I should have children, I would feel the same. For fathers, deep in themselves, were still sons, and still remembered the love they had broken; and sons were forever preparing to enact, and regret, an unchanging transgression.'' Bernard is smitten by his aunt Minna and the bohemian, erotic lifestyle she represents, and drawn to the unflappable Willy, a gentile cousin by marriage. He contrives an affair between them and, after an argument with his father, moves in with the couple. This was a 28-year-old Rosenfeld's first novel, originally issued in 1946 (he died a decade later). Although the hero's rebellion and subsequent disenchantment with his ``adoptive'' parents are by now a familiar theme and Minna's pariah status within the family much dated, many a modern, alienated youth will find his tale of woe appealing. Particularly sparkling are depictions of Jewish family life and of Bernard's longing, unfulfilled, for a brand of Judaism less diluted than the one he has inherited. (June)
Reviewed on: 02/01/1988
Release date: 02/01/1988
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