Moon People

Sondra Shulman, Author Baskerville Publishers $20 (353p) ISBN 978-1-880909-18-8
The comfortable Trianon Condominiums of Miami Beach are home to a basically homogeneous group of elderly and ailing Jewish residents, and, as this feverish and sometimes hallucinatory first novel graphically makes clear, they must all confront their own demons. Between the Jewish High Holy days of Rosh Hashanah (the New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), a time traditionally spent in repentance, prayer and charity, Reenie Richter, daughter of Trianon resident Selma Richter, fradulently obtains the $97,000 savings account of another resident and gambles it away during a nightmarish cruise. For this there's the devil to pay when corrupt voluptuary Ariel Zauberman extracts a heavy price for granting her more cash. Reenie's downward spiral as a compulsive gambler (she has already squandered her family's fortune) is a taut story line on which the author hangs any number of memorable characters who, during this significant 10-day span, query who shall live and who shall die, who shall wax rich and who shall remain poor. A cheerfully ominous group of Haitians and Cubans add their own particular observances. Lurid and explicit, this harrowing tale, told somewhat unevenly, but to good effect. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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