Monday, January 19, 2015

Forgiving Maximo Rothman

Forgiving Maximo Rothman
A. J. Sidransky
Berwick Court Publishing
Chicago, Illinois
ISBN:  978-0-9889540-0-7
$ 16.95
308 pages

"Life is too short to make enemies of those you love. Learn to forgive."

Max Redman is an elderly man who is discovered by his housekeeper when she arrived in the morning. He is still alive, just barely. The police notify Max's next of kin, his son. However, his son will not accept a ride in a car to the hospital where his father is dying. It is a holy day and you do not ride in a vehicle on a holy day.

Who is this man? Why does his son have two names, Steven Redmond and Shalom Rothman? Why would someone attack a gentle, friendly old man? These are the questions that detective Tolya Kurchenko is asking. He quickly discovers that to answer these questions, he must first discover who Max Redman really is.

Tolya Kurchenko is the detective responsible for this case. Tolya quickly finds the logical suspect only to find that he really does not believe this boy would harm Max. With his pregnant girlfriend, he searches the apartment and discovered Max's diaries. In reading the diaries, he realized he is finding Max.

In the year of 1939, many Jewish people were fleeing Europe. Between Russia and the rise of the Nazi movement, it was not difficult to predict that there would be future problems for these chosen ones. In looking into the past, many people wonder why more didn't leave? This was not the first time in history of persecution of the Jews through Europe and Russia. What prevented so many of these people from leaving?

Forgiving Maximo Rothman is the story of much of Max. Having been born in Hungary, he didn't have a simple normal life. As life became threatening in one country, the entire family would move to another and another. Finally an unusual opportunity became available to him and his wife. The Domican Republic is willing to resettle a small group of people of about seven hundred into the town of Sosua on the northern coach. While safe, this life was rural farming which must have seemed like a completely different world to people who were accustomed to living in Vienna or Berlin.

The character development is phenomenal is this novel. The irony of Max being Jewish while leaving his faith and the detective, Tolya desiring to be a part of the Jewish community but being denied due to his maternal heritage creates an unusual dynamic with the story.

Forgiving Maximo Rothman is a story of what it is to be a Jew during the first half of the twentieth-century. From actually inside the synogogue to the typical Jewish home, this novel allows the reader to see what is not seen, heard or experienced by the general public. Also relevant in this novel is the realization of the horrible deaths of so many of their loved ones.

What is outstanding in this novel is its depiction of life seventy years ago in Europe. While intermixing the present day investigation with the events of the past through the diary, A.J. Sidransky has written a masterful mystery into a logical and passionate tale of life and death.

The underlying theme is forceful with the personal prejudices of many in an insular society. For people who do not perfectly fit into the traditional mold, how do these people fulfill their dreams?

Forgiving Maximo Rothman is A.J. Sidransky's debut novel. This novel was selected as "Finalist in Outstanding Debut Fiction" by the National Jewish Book Awards.

Forgiving Maximo Rothman is a phenomenal tale of real people and acceptance of others. This is unquestionable a memorable and moving story by a very gifted author, A. J. Sidransky.

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