Local Color

Bernard Kaplan, Author Ion Books $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-938507-08-6
The earnest narrator of this ambitious but confused novel is Stuart Rason, who, at the age of 18, is sent on a seemingly endless mission by his father, the founder of a successful travel agency. Stuart is directed to journey endlessly, to visit every country on the globe and to find out what it means to be a Jew everywhere, and to become himself a ""universal Jew,'' one man who will embody the essence of all the world's Jewish communities. While wandering for a decade, Stuart confronts the deepest issues in Jewish life: the impact of the Holocaust and the continuation of Jewish tradition. He also experiences a disasterous marriage, an unhappy stint on a kibbutz, a strained relationship with his son and a loss of faith. It remains for Stuart's son Aaron, after a painful search for his own identity, to take over the family travel business. The author of Obituaries has peopled his novel with concentration camp survivors, alienated rabbis, hostile Israelis, and New Jersey suburbanites, all grappling with moral and metaphysical abstractions and speaking with the same, dirge-like voice. The result is an unmanageable mix of characters and concepts lost in a plot that is often out of control. (October 15)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987
Release date: 10/01/1987
Genre: Fiction
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