THE ACROPHILE by Yoram Kaniuk


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This is an offbeat book, full of exuberance- and brooding, with an ending that is almost a joke, and the whole is airy, alive, highly personal and richly flavored with foreign, vivid phrases and emotions. It is ostensibly the story of a young man afraid of success, but it can also be read as a curious and moving prose-poem on the aspects of the Jewish psyche...Dean, is a recluse, a student of the archaeology of an obscure cave people, who marries a mercurial actress- Mira. But even on his wedding day he manages to get lost, thus avoiding Mira's family. Later, at the funeral of her mother, he talks to Uncle Nathan, the prophet, of his own soaring ambitions- to be alone, and he remembers his childhood in Israel and the incident that drove him into seclusion. Rather than kill a fellow soldier, he shot an Arab child. Mira, meanwhile, blaming him for her mother's death, leaves him. He becomes a highly successful professor for a time-then forces the university to discharge him. Afraid of spiritual heights, and of people, he solves his life finally by taking a job on top of the Empire State building.... Valid motivations and symbols are skillfully woven into the conversations, a colloquial-poetic prose that carries the story. It is an emotional, moving and evocative book- for a very special audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1960
Publisher: Atheneum