THE CARPENTER YEARS by Arthur A. Cohen

THE CARPENTER YEARS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Apostate? convert? cop-out? Ne Morris Edelman, husband of Esther, father of Danny, an accountant who cannot make any of his books balance, he becomes Edgar Morrison, the director of the YMCA in a small town and husband of Edwinna, father of Steve. These are the undiscovered years, Jesus' carpenter years (""becoming exemplary while remaining unimportant""). Now, however, when Edgar faces a public issue (letting the Robbi's Jewish boys use the pool on Saturdays) and a personal crisis (his firstborn Danny is on the way to see him) he makes an audit of his life -- the abandonment of his family which was not the real betrayal so much as the fact that he had turned his back on that magnificent, millenial heritage. But as Morris-Edgar sees it, being a Jew is an ""impossible involvement"" which cannot accommodate failure and only as a Christian can he become the ""infinitesimal man"" he chooses to be in Langham, Pennsylvania.... Mr. Cohen's novel, not too expanded beyond its catchy if arguable promise, is sharp, full of random ideas which repudiate the more convenient, conventional assumptions, even where it admits no juste milieu, let alone an assimilated milieu, between Morris' failure and Edgar's anonymity. But there's no mistaking its lively, quizzical intelligence.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 1966
Publisher: New American Library