Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes

Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes

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by T. Cooper
     
 

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A postmodern family saga by one of America’s freshest literary voices

Upon landing at Ellis Island in 1903, Esther and Hersh Lipshitz discover their son Reuven is missing. The child is never found, and decades later, Esther becomes convinced that the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh is her lost boy. Esther’s manic obsession spirals out of

Overview

A postmodern family saga by one of America’s freshest literary voices

Upon landing at Ellis Island in 1903, Esther and Hersh Lipshitz discover their son Reuven is missing. The child is never found, and decades later, Esther becomes convinced that the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh is her lost boy. Esther’s manic obsession spirals out of control, leaving far-reaching effects on the entire Lipshitz lineage. In the present, we meet T Cooper—the last living Lipshitz—who struggles to make sense of all that came before him and what legacy he might leave behind.

Editorial Reviews

Lucinda Rosenfeld
It's refreshing, though, to read a novel that makes a veritable game of its storylines. Referring to the family history outlined in Part 1, T Cooper the bar mitzvah guy (not to be confused with T Cooper the author) writes: "Not one lick is true, though some incidents are true, and others are true, but made up." … Is this true? Who knows, and, maybe, what does it matter? It is the story of Esther, not T, that resonates long after the book has been closed.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Cooper performs the unparalleled feat of addressing white rappers, Jewish heritage freaks and Charles Lindbergh fans with her second novel (after Some of the Parts). The story begins in 1907, when Esther and Hersh Lipshitz inexplicably lose their blond boy, Reuven, while disembarking at Ellis Island. They are fleeing the pogroms of czarist Russia and are headed for Amarillo, Tex., where Esther's brother Avi lives. An indifferent mother, Esther gradually comes to believe that Reuven is, somehow, Charles Lindbergh. The last third of the novel jumps from Esther's death to a gender-bending, self-reflexive coda. A male narrator and stalled novelist named T Cooper is working in New York as an Eminem-enamored DJ for bar mitzvah parties when his parents die in a bizarre car accident. T's reluctant return to Amarillo to oversee the funeral and the estate rekindles his interest in writing about his grandmother Miriam (Esther's daughter). Cooper the author bridges the obvious chasm between the atmosphere of Esther's story and the attitude of the coda by reaching out to a larger history. She takes apart the usual Jewish heritage tale and the themes of assimilation, touching them with both postmodern parody and Chagallesque folk magic. (Feb.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Cooper follows her debut novel (Some of the Parts) with a smart story that makes a foray into 20th-century historical fiction and then lands firmly in present-day America. Centering on the losses and achievements of the Lipshitz family, Russian Jews who immigrated to America in the early 1900s, this novel is an exploration into how issues of identity can stem from a need for love and absolution in the face of personal unsolved mysteries. In the first and larger section of the book, which focuses on the various Lipshitz family members, Cooper exhibits insight into the motivations and yearnings of her characters-starting with Esther Lipshitz, who believes that the son who disappeared when the family disembarked at Ellis Island grew up to become famed American aviator Charles Lindbergh. In the second section, a character named T Cooper (the last living Lipshitz) tries to sort out a family legacy that includes the Lindbergh fantasy. Though this section is more emotionally forthright than the first, the identity issues arise with more startling ambiguity; it is disconcerting that at times the author seems to want to taunt the reader here. Fortunately, what feels like defiant posturing does not overshadow the book's ultimate strengths. Recommended for larger public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/05.]-Maureen Neville, Trenton P.L., NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Cooper's bifurcated follow-up to Some of the Parts (2002) musters its scant cohesiveness from a touchingly confused search for identity. The first part forms a tidy family saga involving the Lipshitz clan, Russian Jews fleeing pogroms in Kishinev, disembarking in New York on December 17, 1907, and losing one of their sons while waiting in the immigration line. Five-year-old Reuven is blond and doesn't look like a Jew; his mother Esther insists to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which promises to find him. The family drops anchor for months on the Lower East Side to wait for news, but eventually heads out to start a new life in Amarillo, Texas, where Esther's brother Avi has moved. The Lipshitzes prosper, but Reuven is never found. A psychic tells Esther that her son will become famous and then endure a terrible tragedy; she convinces herself that Charles Lindbergh is really Reuven and writes dire warnings to the aviator and his wife for years before their son is kidnapped in 1932. The final section leaps to 2002. The Lipshitzes' great-grandchild, a writer and rapper in New York who shares the author's name and ambiguous sexuality, is reeling from the news that Mom and Dad have died in a head-on collision. T Cooper the character must return to Amarillo after many years away to help druggie brother Sammy plan the funeral and sort out family effects. T Cooper the author attempts to tie together the novel's schizophrenic parts by having the modern protagonist painstakingly assemble a miniature model of Lindbergh's plane, Spirit of St. Louis, and by having someone mistake T for Eminem, a misunderstanding that leads to a short stint at Bellevue. These gimmicks do not redeem a deeply fracturednarrative. A novel still in search of itself. Agent: Douglas Stewart/Sterling Lord Literistic Inc.
From the Publisher
Unusual and avowedly postmodern . . . [A] compelling story. (The New York Times)

Rich characters and unforgettable scenes . . . This [is] one strange, funny story. (The Dallas Morning News)

[T Cooper's] talent lies in [her] ability to capture the endlessly complex nature of families and their shared memories. (The Washington Post)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101213377
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/16/2006
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
448
File size:
645 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Unusual and avowedly postmodern . . . [A] compelling story. (The New York Times)

Rich characters and unforgettable scenes . . . This [is] one strange, funny story. (The Dallas Morning News)

[T Cooper's] talent lies in [her] ability to capture the endlessly complex nature of families and their shared memories. (The Washington Post)

Meet the Author

T Cooper is the author of the novel Some of the Parts (2002), and editor of the short story collection Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing (2006). T’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Believer, Poets&Writers, and Out, among several other publications and anthologies. T holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City.

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Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
CarlyleLeBlanc More than 1 year ago
True to its post modernism style this book turns passionately around many sensitive corners with ease. By the end, I couldn't wait for it to be over but was glad it happened.