AFTER THE WAR by Frederic Raphael


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Novelist (Heaven and Earth, 1985) and screenwriter (Two for the Road, The Glittering Prizes) Raphael follows the fortunes of Michael Jordan, an assimilated Jewish playwright in England, from his boyhood during WW II to Israel's victory in the Six-Day War. Raphael's latest has an ambitious sweep--from the narrator's tribulations at St. George's School (evacuated to Devon during the war) to the Nazi guilt of a German banker; the complicity of American and British authorities in protecting him; loves and betrayals; drug abuse and suicide in the world of London musical theater and Hollywood; the struggle to establish a Jewish homeland and then preserve it; an African nation's civil strife and move to independence; and more. But events often happen offstage and serve mostly to provide opportunities for scathing dialogue and bons mots as Jordan matches wits with such as his barrister father; a mogul real-estate developer; an aggressively Jewish schoolmate (who infuriates Jordan, pursues his sister, and gets hot stew ladled into his lap); a vicious critic; an American painter (who's also a Jewish comic); the sexually manipulative actress he's loved since childhood; and the wife who can't forgive his one (all but meaningless) infidelity. The barrage of clever talk here entertains but ultimately tends to obscure the larger issues of identity, political and artistic integrity; and in a 500+=page book, the charm of Raphael's caustic wit eventually palls.

ISBN: 670-82563-8
Publisher: Viking
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