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By Joseph Skibell (608 Pages)Publisher: Algonquin Books, 2010
As far as romance goes, Dr. Jakob Sammelsohn is fairly incurable. Twice married, once divorced, once widowed all by the tender age of twelve he finally flees his small village and his pious, vengeful father. A lovelorn candide, young Dr. Sammelsohn wanders optimistically through history pursued by the amorous ghost of his dead wife.
Arriving in Vienna in 1890, a chance encounter with Sigmund Freud leads our hero into the arms of Emma Eckstein, one of Freud s most famous patients. Later he romances the beautiful and wealthy Lo Bernfeld, who carries him into the world of Esperanto and the universal language movement. Finally, Dr. Sammelsohn finds himself in the Warsaw ghetto in 1940, only to become a pawn in a battle over the path to heaven.
A Curable Romantic is a novel of personal and historical exile that could spring only from the literary imagination of a virtuoso. Often fantastical yet always grounded in tradition and history, it is that rare literary feat a truly incomparable tale, ingenuously told, peopled with characters who live on in the memory.
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