Lipshitz Six, Or Two Angry Blondes
“How do you lose a child?” is the opening line of this unusual and intriguing novel. Reuven Lipshitz, the young, blond son of Esther and Hersh, is lost to his family at the gates of Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century. These new Russian Jewish immigrants face their first tragedy in America; just like in the old country, they will face many more. The child remains lost, yet the family is able to move on to Amarillo, Texas, to pursue a richer life.
The novel’s first half focuses on Esther’s struggle with this dilemma, which morphs into her belief that Reuven has grown up to become Charles Lindbergh. Her obsession with this idea is extensive, and the reader bears witness to an enormous rift growing between Esther and her family – who are unable to identify with her fixation. The second half, which fast forwards to 2002, highlights T. Cooper (yes, the same name as the author) who is a descendant of Esther. This would-be novelist finds work as an Eminem impersonator (yes, there are Eminem impersonators) who encounters an identity crisis similar to his ancestor.
The narratives are interspersed with letters, newspaper clippings, handwritten memos, and telegram messages (to C. Lindbergh), which help develop and enhance the story. The author provides an intriguing, sometimes bizarre family saga, which most of us can at one time or another relate to!