Special Destiny

Seymour Epstein, Author, Epstein, Other Dutton Books $17.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-917657-84-9
The author of Leah and A Pillar of Salt has written another impeccably crafted narrative with an absorbing plot and insights about life that resonate on many levels. The narrator, Saul Klein, is a poor Bronx boy who has taken a salesman's job to pay his college tuition during the Depression; at the same time, he apprehensively watches the events in Europe that presage WW II. Saul is befriended by Eugene Strauss, a German refugee who is convinced of his special destiny as a playwright, and who goads Saul into writing plays as well. While he feels inferior to Gene's cultural fluency and aristocratic bearing, in the challenge of living up to his mentor, Saul widens his own knowledge, ambitions and talents. Though Gene's charisma turns out to be self-serving, the circumstances of their friendship are also the crucible in which Saul's own special destiny is formed. Written in a controlled prose whose realism sharpens an exceptional clarity, the book brilliantly evokes the emotional climate of the time, capturing the schizophrenia felt by those who continue their daily routines while another part of the world is in flames. With subtle skill, Epstein reveals the guilts and cruelties of family relationships, the paradoxes and ironies of human communication and love. He is a poet of the mundane, a writer whose clear-eyed observation of ordinary lives rings with poignancy and truth. (July 1)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1986
Release date: 07/01/1986
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