As some of you may know, my beloved mother-in-law Carole Malkin is an acclaimed Jewish novelist. In 1981, she wrote an extraordinary book based on the life of her Russian immigrant grandfather. “The Journeys of David Toback” earned a New York Times book review/cover story rave.
Carole completed two more novels and has now self-published them. Both are striking and trenchant coming-of-age narratives. Here are links and details:
The novel is about the transformation and redemption of a Berkeley juvenile delinquent who is sent to an Israeli Yeshiva to be rehabilitated. Karl’s story—he later adopts the name of Baruch—is intertwined with that of his hippy mother, Lisa, a supporter of drug experimentation and promiscuous sex. The novel contrasts her search for personal freedom with Baruch’s search for structure—and eventually his ability to find a flexible blend of both.
“The Life and Art of Gary Geckleman” is a coming-of-age novel. Gary must not only make the transition from boy to man, but to being an artist, and to become an American. Born on the Lower East Side and raised in the 1950’s, he comes from a family uprooted by the Holocaust. To be Jewish seems sad to him, full of loss and death. He prefers the glamour of the movies to his family to teach him what life is about, and how he should act.
One of the things I cherish most about my relationship with my mother-in-law is the loving, graceful, and penetrating way in which she has continually exposed our children and me to her passionate love of literature — while inculcating a deep appreciation of the commonalities of our cultural heritages. Her themes are universal: the struggle for identity, the embrace of the American Dream, remembrance of the past, reconciliation with the present, and hope for the future.
My life has been immeasurably blessed by Carole’s words, thoughts, heart, and soul — and I hope yours will be, too.