SUMMER ON A MOUNTAIN OF SPICES by Harvey Jacobs

SUMMER ON A MOUNTAIN OF SPICES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Shlomo Ferinsky, one of the Owners and Operators of the Willow Spring Hotel in the Catskills, celebrated VJ Day by fashioning the visages of FDR, Churchill and Truman in chopped liver for the special midnight supper; the ""governess"" and her frustrated admirer pinned Outstanding Camper Buttons on every little shirt; and fifteen-year-old Harry Craft, sloshed, entered both the atomic age and Leslie Quint, a gangster's moll placed in less-than-cold storage at the hotel for safekeeping. But during the two weeks snatched from raw adolescent memory, Willow Spring was a geyser of headlong, intent recreation, a manifestation of the ""Ziegfeldian vision"" of Owner Al Barman who insisted on a classy casino, a social director, day camp and Resident Band. It's a feverish montage of cacophonic, fermenting speech and 10-mm motion: Uncle Shlomo, nude and happy, soaping himself in the middlesized lake; a territorial battle with the neighboring koch alayn (defined in a racier-than-Rosten glossary as ""a resort lower than the low""); amplified shower shenanigans from a brace of newlyweds; and the Entertainment -- broad, awful, funny -- before a fully participating audience. These are the boys, girls, zades, bubbas, the mishpochehs of summer -- spirits that once inhabited a mountain of spices as crazy in retrospect as is the fact of youth gone by. Superheated but under the cool, unsentimental control of an author who seems to have had no difficulty in making a transition from skillfully quirky short stories to the novel.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1975
Publisher: Harper & Row