A collection of marvelous anecdotes and stories, all displayed like precious artifacts by an endearing curator of life's ironies. Pinkus is the right voice for the right time and place. Reflecting the dramatic dimensions of our century, he was born in Germany, escaped with his family to Bolivia, and later became a consummate antique-dealer and maven in the Tel-Aviv/Jaffa market--the old/new center of an ancient/modern people. With the tactile description and engagingly human voice of a Melville, Hawthorne, or Sherwood Anderson (with Jewish inflection), this bighearted master of antiquities and personalities takes us around the world and down through the ages as he offers up the stories behind his artifacts. While some of his clients are Texas millionaires, the plainest, poorest people come in to his shop with precious museum pieces and heartbreaking stories. Our intrepid dealer and storyteller generously sees that justice and charity are done: tracking down missing violin cases, authenticating family heirlooms that miraculously survived the Holocaust, seeing that only phony collectors pay fortunes for forgeries, etc. Only a dozen of the 50 stories are relatively flat. The remainder, an excavated mosaic of lives and times, provides much richness for readers with a taste for pathos and irony.