Blue Numbers

Bruce Goldsmith, Author, B. Goldsmith, Author Mercury House $19.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-916515-53-9
The black sheep of his conventional Jewish family, ``depressed schlepper '' and one-time radical journalist, Sandy Klein wakes up one morning in 1973 to discover a blue tattoo on his arm--an exact replica of a concentration camp number. This Kafkaesque event (explained as a date's drunken prank) propels Sandy on a bizarre quest. First, he deceives his highly sexed girlfriend, pert lawyer Paula Gottlieb, into thinking he's actually an Auschwitz survivor who's secretly working to expose Nazi war criminals resettled in the U.S. Next, to shake the Jewish community out of its complacency and win his father's approval, Sandy and a friend unearth--and kidnap at gunpoint--an ex-Gestapo murderer living comfortably in Southern California under an assumed identity. Sandy calls himself ``a true schlimazel '' (a ``hopeless fellow who spills the soup on himself''), and the reader is inclined to agree, yet we read on in suspense to the sensational climax. Despite implausibility and gratuitously anatomical sex scenes, Goldsmith ( Strange Ailments ; Uncertain Cures ) has written a thought-provoking and daring novel which simultaneously examines anti-Semitism, the meaning of the Holocaust and whether the end ever justifies the means. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/30/1989
Release date: 05/01/1989
Genre: Fiction
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