THE BUILDING by Peter Martin


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A full and never very interesting account of the Golins from Golinsk (a district of Minsk) as they emigrate to Plentiful in upper New York state in the early 1900's, and of their individual patterns of assimilation or apartness. The four boys have very different destinies:- Joel goes into the family business; Leon into the intellectual life via a New England college; Julian into playwriting and on to Hollywood; and Philip, the youngest, who might have been ""my son the doctor"", is derailed by his affair with a young girl in the left wing theatre. These four however are subsidiary to the family and business crisis which overtakes their father Aaron, over his head in a commercial transaction, and his Uncle Laib, an Old Testament figure of moral right and indignation, who stands in judgment- ready to forfeit the family to the principles he will not abandon. It is Laib, as unyielding to money motives as to the cancer which is destroying him, who gives the book its strength and purpose..... Martin, a verbal, literal writer, also has fidelity as his best recommendation- whether to the Jews of this class or to the background against which their story is set (Sacco & Vanzetti; boop boop a doop; the speakeasy) and it is as such that the book has a certain integrity. Limited.

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 1959
Publisher: Little, Brown