MICHEL, MICHEL by Robert Lewis
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Michel, Michel, a book which promises to reverberate long past the double echo of its title, is the story of a small boy ""caught up in something too big for him""--a controversy which rages in and out of the courts with the overheated combativeness of the Dreyfus affair, one which puts the Catholic Church on trial, and one which tests the emotional allegiance of the child to the woman who took him in when his parents had been taken away to a concentration camp to die. Madame Rose, director of a Nursery in a small French village, loved him more than any of her others--a formidable woman, an ""exaltee,"" stubbornly determined not to give him up to the aunt in Israel who now years later claimed him. And then there's the fact that he had been baptized as a Catholic and belongs to the faith. And there's also Michel, Michel, filled with divisive doubts not only of his identity but all the theological confusion he's inherited: ""God the Father, he said to himself. What did it mean? How could part of Him be in heaven, and another part in hell? If the Jews crucified Christ, and Christ was God, and His father was God and also a Jew, had God crucified Himself?"" Actually it is Michel who is crucified during the years of official litigation while Madame Rose loses but never gives up--nor do others--Mother Veronica who sees that he is hidden away in a Jesuit school, Father Vergara who eventually smuggles him across the border into Spain The book is long: full of a great deal of legal chinolseric exposing not only the newer interfaith issues but residual bigotries. It is carried however by Michel--by Madame Rose--and it reads with intelligence and sentiment--two qualities which are usually dission. Its success seems not only predestined but assured.

Pub Date: Sept. 18th, 1967
Publisher: Simon & Schuster