Farbman is a hustling New York lawyer with a shiksa wife and two kids, living beyond his financial and emotional means. Dunned by his creditors and distressed by an undiagnosed malaise of the soul, Farbman embodies the conflict between our altruistic impulse to help others and our selfish desire to elbow our way to the front of the line. The novel begins on Forty-Second Street in New York City. Farbman is on his way to an out-of-town funeral. He is rushing from a meeting with his unforgiving banker, to his chaotic office, to his parents' home, and then to the airport. Running late, Farbman considers canceling the trip, but doesn't. After the funeral, his lust for a fellow mourner leads him to an encounter with a mystic rabbi. The Hand Before the Eye is the often comic story of a contemporary man. With energetic and ironic prose, Donald Friedman take us into Farbman's world of law and medicine. Through Job-like suffering, Farbman gains enlightenment, learns the spiritual lessons of justice and healing. Finally , he understands that the good life offers us two true gifts: meaningful work and the love of another
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Donald Friedman, novelist, short story writer, and Huffington Post blogger, is also the author of the internationally praised and multiply translated The Writer’s Brush: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture by Writers, and the illustrated humor book You're My Dawg, Dog: A Lexicon of Dog Terms for People. For more information or to contact him visit his website donaldfriedman.com.
Table of Contents
Part I A Frog in the Well 1
A Crow Among Pigeons 26
One Flesh 35
The Laughing Cow 54
Frictive Love: A Short Chat With The Devil 78
Lox and Mousse and the Whole Megillah 84
The Grapefruit 96
Part II The Individual Case 113
Taking Charge 133
Current Fashions 146
Part III Vincere Aut Mori 199
Mens Rea 201
Left Behind 222
God's Shape 232
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
We walk with the main character in this poignant journey through his life as it unfolds. Every character becomes special to us, itimate. This is a lasting story with meaning and a message. It touches the reader and helps us understand the beauty that is arounds even if the pain is profound. It's a rich read.
The Hand Before the Eye is an oddball: a book by and about a lawyer that is not about a point of law, and not a thriller, but a story about what one knows when one comes to know oneself. The protagonist, a middle-aged litigator named Farbman, has become alienated from all he thought he held most precious. He grinds away at a marginally successful law practice, longs for an end to his celibate marriage and dabbles at adultery. He makes the astonishing discovery that behaving lovingly makes one loving. In the end, he gets major come uppances -- 'righteous' treatment of the goes-around-comes-around variety. But he also learns to cherish each moment those acts and people who most bless him. Especially interesting is the way author Donald Friedman handles Farbman's sexual exploits: he suffers from them more than he is satisfied by them -- and he eventually learns that there are more compelling passions than the quick sex he has yearned for -- among these are friendship, connection with community, and satisfaction in work (real work and good work) well-done. In the end, the author seems to side with the 'feminine' aspect of Farbman's experience. Refreshingly non-jazzy, not sardonic or smart-alecky, but comic and tragic and very hopeful.
It is rare to encounter a book so powerful that it forces us to reevaluate the direction of our lives. For me, Donald Friedman's extraordinary first novel, The Hand Before The Eye, was a mind-bending, life-transforming experience. Forget the fact that this is one of the funniest and saddest books you'll ever read... Or the fact that the lawyer Farbman perfectly captures the desperation and emptiness of the workaholic life that is seemingly unavoidable at the turn of the millennium... Or that this compelling tale ends by shattering the plate glass wall separating us from a truly fulfilling life of freedom, love, and deep connection with nature. If you're like me, this book will at its very least launch you on a journey of spiritual exploration and career transformation. Perhaps along the way you will discover or rediscover all that is truly important in living. Bravo
Many novels are entertaining, exciting, engaging; a few are literature. The difference is illusive and relative, but has to do with brilliance in the way words, story, characters, images, thoughts and settings illuminate each other. It has to do, most of all, with the way those elements meld to produce a depth of experience that approaches wisdom -- offering the reader more profound insights into the way of the world. Donald Friedman's The Hand Before the Eye is, remarkably for a first novel, literature. It is also very funny. Farbman, the lawyer, dealing more with the quirks of clients and the hounding of creditors than with anything he learned in law school, is all of us who find ourselves compromised, somehow unfulfilled, yearning for a greater sense of purpose. The ingredients for happiness are there -- a potentially lucrative career, an attractive family and friends -- yet, with Farbman's undermining them and their own very faulty construction, they do not satisfy. His quest starts with escape and sex, following a funeral. But Farbman's escape into the embrace of an elusively honest and beautiful woman leads him into new levels of questions, as does his encounter at a religious retreat (which he attends for less than the purest motivations) with the unexpectedly unnerving presence of a mystical rabbi. Temporary escape, however, is not the answer for Farbman, now that he has glimpsed something more profound. One of the most striking insights of Judaism is that meaning occurs in the reality and details of life, not in theories. What do you say when you get up in the morning? What do you eat? How do you put on your clothes? How and to what are you connected? And so it is with Farbman, for any wisdom he gains cannot have meaning except as it affects and changes his the way he leads his life. It is that process that Friedman describes, with brilliance, humor and literary competence, so that, like other novels that are literature, it offers important insights that affect how we see our lives.
Engaging and funny the book as a whole launches us into all too familiar and too intimate tales of small deceits and unattained fantasies. You don't need to be a lawyer to love this book, Farbman is lost in the midst of a whirl of conflicts and catastrophies of his own creation, wondering always how to escape or reshape it all into a life of meaning and balance. Just terrific!!!