A Leopold Bloom from “Columbia”-on-Hudson


The Spirit of the Place, by Samuel Shem. Reviewed by Jim O’Toole, The American

“The protagonist in Samuel Shem’s award-winning novel, The Spirit of the Place, not only goes home again, he finds there what has been missing in his life: strong ties to family and community. Orville Rose, M.D., is a modern American wandering Jew, a Leopold Bloom from “Columbia”-on-Hudson. Rootless and purposeless, he travels the globe without a moral compass in futile search of just what he doesn’t know. The theme may be familiar, but Shem infuses the old story with layers of original insight and contemporary significance.

Rose, the reader finds, is every disillusioned American Baby Boomer. His home town–divided by racial, religious, and ideological antagonisms, and rife with drugs, violence, and materialism—has all that is the worst of America (and, paradoxically, also the best in terms of the ability to adapt, innovate, and coalesce around common values). And the moral of the book is universal: if we are patient, willing to engage in deep reflection and, above all, willing to make ourselves vulnerable by opening up to others, we all can learn a great deal by returning to the places where it began”

Credit: Image 


Follow Samuel Shem on Goodreads and Facebook

And please join us @ the book launch for At the Heart of the Universe:

Samuel Shem in conversation with Adam Pertman, Adoption Nationand with Katie Surrey-Bergman and Janet Surrey. At Soho Playhouse, 14 Vandam Street, NYC. November 14, Monday at from 7 to 8:45.  Free


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