By some incalculable force of human attraction, Alan Krieger has two lovers.
A man of his girth and compulsion, a man who cannot stop talking and who believes the world to be completely irrational, should not take one companion for granted, much less two. Women who can tolerate his anger, his obsessions, and his antic clowning all at the same time are not easy to come by.
But when the thought arises in Alan that he’s been “chosen” to deliver Jewish America from the threat of Anti-Semitism, then all his connections to reality fall away, including those to his lovers and his family. Recalling the folktale of the Golem—the Frankensteinian giant of clay that saved the Jews in 16th Century Prague—Alan lays out a plan of attack and then sets to making the most outrageous of preparations in the culture wars, in New York City at the turn of the millennium.
Like each of the acclaimed Estrin novels that have preceded it, Golem Song is an allusive, manic, and wildly comic approach to some of the most serious and difficult cultural questions of our time.
$15.95 | Fiction Paperback Original | 6x9 | 320 pages
Ecstatic discharge from the nether regions of the downtown express as it disappeared into darkness. Old Sparky, Alan thought, the festival of lights come round for Passover. The uptown platform—his—was filling up with huddled masses yearning to go home and watch TV.
What a card, old God. Execute all those lil Egyptian firstborns? For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, I and not an intermediary—the Big Ham. He could have had Jews avenge themselves. But no. No Jewish Fists allowed. Why? Afraid of His People punching themselves in the face? Punching Him in the Face? He kept everyone that night in the dark, without responsibility or blame for all those little corpses.
What the …
Alan gawked at the lipstick kiss on his shoulder, and gazed back at the poster he had been leaning on. A blond male model, shot head-first recumbent in his briefs, foreshortened, looking for all the world like a god on a slab, featuring a pudendal mountain under pesticide-free cotton. At the peak of the mount, as if planted by Sir Edmund Hilary’s wife herself, a full-mouthed press of lipstick, yum. This was the attestation that had transferred itself (less passionately) to Alan’s shoulder. Sex in the age of mechanical reproduction.
“Gaak,” he mugged, and did his best to undo the affection with a handkerchief still wet with the tears of Thomas J. Brown. He only made things worse. Yet damn! he was aroused.
What am I gonna tell my little poopchen?
Tell her the truth, Alan.
She’ll never believe me. She’ll think I’m two-timing her.
She’ll believe you, she’ll believe you. Who would kiss you on the shoulder?
The midget I’m going out with?
A downtown train pulled in, filled up, and went sparking away toward West Fourth. Alan walked to the edge of the platform to peer into the darkness for his uptown express. The Cyclopean eye was not yet visible.
Look at all that shit down in the tracks. Paper cups and plastic bags and shards of … Shards! Sparks and shards! Chin up, Alan, for even here is the Lord.
He turned to the fourteen-year-old Puerto Rican standing to his left.
“Buenos dias, muchacho. Do you know about the sparks and shards of God?”
“No man, never heard of em.”
The kid put half-a-dozen would-be passengers between himself and Alan.
“Even down on that rat-infested track …” Alan began his lecture to no one in particular.
And he jumped back from the brink. The uptown express had snuck up, invading his kabbalah space. The crowd surged toward the narrow doors, gathering him into itself, squeezing him along as one might a molecule of Pepsodent.
“Ah, Truth,” Alan sighed. “Rush hour on a New York subway!”