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At first glance, Schaffer's memoir appears to cover familiar territory: the impossible father who abandoned his family, the angry son who can't forgive him, and their final reconciliation in the last moments before illness prevails. But trust us, as you turn the pages of this delightful little book, such cynicism will melt away like the hot buttery crumbs of a freshly baked croissant.
Schaffer's father, Flip, is a handful. Smart, charming, and an accomplished academic, he is also impulsive, evasive, and capable of tantrums that would put a two-year-old to shame. He's a playwright whose work has never seen Broadway, a fiction writer whose books never made it to print, and a father of four who stopped being a family man long before his children were prepared for such abandonment.
Life, Death & Bialys narrows its focus to one week in the lives of Flip and Dylan: a week they spend taking a bread-baking class in New York. But the fascinating ins and outs of baking are just one of the gifts this unforgettable and compassionate book has to share. For as Flip and Dylan learn how to bake croissants, brioches, and baguettes -- but not, alas, Flip's beloved bialys -- one can't help but wonder: Will Flip's revelations about his life's choices satisfy the curiosity of his son?
The story of a son's frustrating struggle to understand a father he barely knows, Life, Death & Bialys is a humorous, sensitive, and honest account of a complicated relationship. (Holiday 2006 Selection)