BENJAMIN AND HIS FATHERS by Herbert Heckmann

BENJAMIN AND HIS FATHERS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The thoughts of youth seem to be long, long thoughts indeed, and the author seems to make an attempt to put it all down in this lengthy but likeable German import. Young Benjamin's natural father had deserted his unmarried mother before he was born, and his dreams, plans and hopes are usually rooted in that elusive, amorphous heroic figure. Fortunately, however, Benjamin and his mother are under the solid (and platonic) protection of magnificent Fritz Bernoulli (""Jonah""), corpulent, well-to-do, rejoicing in the proximity of a ""son."" It is the mammoth convictions and figure of jonah -- wise, humanistic, devoutly respectful of life if not the individual representations of same -- which dominate the proceedings. Benjamin plunges intensely through his boyhood, travelling with cronies, discovering the purposeful inanities in Don Quixote, falling in love and at the last meeting death and brutality in himself and others. Benjamin's mother is killed on the way to a mythical assignation with Benjamin's natural father, and Benjamin is officially adopted by Jonah. At the close, the death of Jonah and a later confrontation with his unlikely natural father, clarify for Benjamin who his father really was, and who he is himself. A citified Tom Sawyer, notable because of Uncle Jonah.

Publisher: Knopf