Home. The Author. Synopsis. Excerpt. To Order. Isaac Rosenberg.



Juniper Books

Chapter One

Sam is experiencing the realities of life in the settlement towns of Kiryat Arba and Hebron. As with most of the “contemporary” chapters set in the Middle East – excluding the final chapter – the first person, present tense is used. The action takes place a few years after his grandfather’s death and the family move to the West Bank “frontier”.

Even at this early stage, Sam is concerned by negative aspects of the confrontation between Arab and Jew, as well as the contradictions in his father’s hard-line stance. He ponders his grandfather’s stories and his mother’s hostility to the accepted viewpoint. His confusion is highlighted when he assaults his father during a savage argument. Although the chapter ends in their reconciliation, the youngster remains uneasy.

Chapter Two

This, like all the other chapters set in the Warsaw ghetto, recounts the stories Leo is passing on to his grandson. The narrative is presented in the third person, present tense and alternates between the action in Poland during the Second World War, and the Jerusalem bedroom where the two characters are communing.

The chapter begins with the German invasion of Poland. Experiencing the ruthlessness of the Nazi invaders, first hand, Leo flees, with his sister, to Warsaw. With the help of one of his father’s friends, the pair manage to obtain papers and a place to live. While Sam is moved by the heroic nature of his grandfather’s struggle to survive, the latter strives to accentuate the terrible human cost.

Chapter Three

It is 1994 and Dr Goldstein has murdered twenty-nine Moslem Arabs at prayer in the Patriarch’s Cave before turning his gun on himself. Sam’s father is delighted by the news and plans are afoot to celebrate the doctor’s martyrdom. In their eagerness to eulogise Goldstein, the religious extremism of the settlers is revealed. Sam joins the funeral march in Jerusalem, but, again, is deeply troubled by what he sees and hears in the course of that fateful day.

Chapter Four

The narrative shifts to Warsaw at the end of 1940 and the months following the formation of the ghetto. Leo has joined the internal ghetto police force but his path remains unclear. After experiencing some of the terrible realities of ghetto life, and a vicious confrontation with members of the pro-Nazi Polish police force, he is recruited into a secret resistance organisation. Again, for the sake of his grandson, he attempts to underplay the heroics, endeavouring, instead, to point out the futility and the human suffering involved. He is determined to teach his grandson the cost of intemperate behaviour, and the relationship between cause and effect.  >>