With the shadows of European events and refugees from Nazi brutality to point up the significance of this story of dilemma, this emerges as a contemporary portrait of a Jew, impelled by mounting circumstances to defy law and society. Tragic in its implications, solid in its background, high pitched in its emotions, this assuredly is not a novel for popular consumption. There is something of Native Son in its racial antagonism aspects, as Max, driven early to the shady ways of bootlegging and bookmaking, is caught up in the anti-Semitic tension of the last presidential campaign. The rumblings of threat to his business, the pending celebration of his parents' 50th wedding anniversary, the tension of his affair with neurotic, perverse Blanche, a Christian, produce a week-end of mounting drama, which culminates in violent death. A tragic, ironic book. Not easy to sell these days.