In between escapades in the Russo-Japanese War, the young Benno – a little big man in the Tzar’s army – blasted out fanfares on his cornet at all the wrong moments and puffed away on strong cigars. Except he was too young to fight in that war. Grandpa Benno’s right index finger also made it unscathed through the First World War – a war that he did in fact fight and was wounded in. The fateful event that stiffened and hooked his finger didn’t occur until the Second World War, but not on the frontline – in a bomb shelter when the rabbi’s knife slipped during his grandson’s circumcision.
This hysterically funny history of a Jewish family making its way across Finland and Russia rides roughshod over history, relating one crazy incident after another. The publication of this, Katz’s debut novel, coincided with the rise of Jewish literature in America. Katz is one of the cosmopolitans of Finnish prose – a humorist who entertains us with his wild imagination and sense of the absurd. Katz is also a humanist, who gently mocks the weaknesses of people and society.
English (USA) (Continental Publishing House)
Estonian (Loomingu Raamatukogu)
French (Association des Amis Franco-Norvegien)
Hebrew (Carmel Publishing House)
Hungarian (Móra Ferenc Könyvkiadó)
Norwegian (Mortenses Ernst G Forlag)
Serbo-Croatian (Nakladni zavod znanje)
Slovene (Prešernova Družba)
Spanish (Libros del Asteroide)
Swedish (Almqvist & Wiksell Förlag AB)