COMING OF AGE IN AN AGE OF INSANITY
The Seventh Gate, Richard Zimler, MA '82; Overlook, $26.95.
Sophie, retelling her teen years from the vantage point of the 21st century, remembers hearing the whereabouts of a young man who had babysat her: "Imagine a time when a German girl has to ask where Dachau is!" Zimler provides his readers that same leap of imagination in this spellbinding novel. Artistic and sexually curious Sophie is surrounded by Germans whose lives will be transmogrified by the rise of the Nazis: her father who agilely converts from Communism to fascism; her beloved brother who is "a distant child" (that is to say, autistic, and terrifyingly vulnerable); the elderly Jewish neighbor whose Kabbala studies offer the girl a glimpse of transcendence; and the community of circus-performer acquaintances who provide a mystery she tries to tease apart.
Causes Richard Zimler Supports
Save the Children, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)