The Frumkiss Family Business

The Frumkiss Family Business

A Megilla in 14 Chapters

Book - 2010
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Thomas Mann meets Mordecai Richler in this outstanding novel of great intellect and humour that already reads like a classic.

The Frumkiss family doesn't look much different from any of the others in Toronto's Bathurst Manor. Grandpa survived the Holocaust; Grandma the Second came from Poland at the age of five. Dad's a foot doctor; Mom is dead, and her mother -- Grandma Number One --died while giving birth to her in Kazakhstan. Her three kids -- the oldest is forty-two -- are as frustrated and directionless as most baby boomers with no real financial worries. One's in Toronto, there's one in the suburbs and the third lives in Israel. As far as the Frumkisses know, all that distinguishes them from anybody else is that Grandpa is a famous Yiddish writer who ended up working for the CBC. But Grandpa's death sets off a chain of events that force the Frumkisses to see how different their family is from all the others.

The Frumkiss Family Business , Michael Wex's brilliant and hilarious new novel, is a family saga for the twenty-first century, a lovingly accurate portrait of middle-class Canadian life at the turn of the century and of the Toronto neighbourhood that has produced such famous Canadians as Howie Mandel and Wex himself. Imagine Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks without the stodgy Germans or The Brothers Karamazov with only one brother. Finally, a novel that does for Toronto what Mordecai Richler's books did for Montreal.
Publisher: Toronto : Alfred A. Knopf Canada, 2010
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780307397768
0307397769
Branch Call Number: FIC Wex 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 361 p

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Harriet_the_Spy Sep 08, 2010

Quite aside from being funny in a way that is satirical and cutting as well as surprisingly gentle, and having the plot and pacing of the best French farce, this book makes a place in literature for Jewish Toronto. He's been compared to Richler, but he's more like Matt Cohen at his most madcap. Everything is sent up: the CBC, people who find religion, writers, academics, Yiddish culture, and the eternal question, "who is a Jew?". Nothing is sacred to Wex, and by the time the novel brings together all these strands in its final, satisfying romp, the reader is pretty likely to agree.

m
michael12
Jul 28, 2010

Maylin at the Dewey Divas said "Any book that bills itself as Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks without the stodgy Germans or The Brothers Karamazov with only one brother, is worth a look." That was a good enough reason for me to put a hold on it.

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