THE PAST AND PRESENT OF SOLOMON SORGE by Judith Bernard Papier

THE PAST AND PRESENT OF SOLOMON SORGE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Solomon Sorge, a professor of political science at a large midwestern university, has been equably married for almost thirty years when, at two in the morning, his wife Trudi disappears, leaving a sinkful of dishes. While his nudgeing sister Yetta contends that ""a Jewish wife doesn't leave her husband,"" obviously Trudi has and the situation (why? where?) is a real stopper and motivates the book as well as the reader's ongoing interest. Mostly it consists of the re-examined life of Solomon, vis a vis children (two sons he lost to Trudi when they were still small; his daughter with whom he had a closer if not suspect rapport; his own background (Russian Jewish -- which he had discarded, etc., etc.). Solomon talks to a number of people, eventually his Rabbi and the man he assumed to be Trudi's lover, ultimately learns what he was lacking (substituting science for faith, method for ""mystery"") and what Trudi needed (""to look back... to find meaning"" in the Jewish past). A fair first novel, overly, dully explicit in spots -- rather like Solomon who is a didactic sort to begin with. And it might have been more interesting if Trudi did not altogether escape the reader just as she did him.

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin