The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky Front Cover

Paperback / softback
ISBN: 9780889226463
Pages: 496
Pub. Date: September 1 2010
Dimensions: 8.5" x 5.5" x 1.125"
Rights: Available: WORLD
Fiction / FIC019000

  • FICTION / Jewish
  • FICTION / Historical / General
  • FICTION / Literary

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The Five Books of Moses Lapinsky

By Karen X. Tulchinsky

In 2003, a mild-mannered historian named Moses Lapinsky jots down notes for a biography. It is to tell the tale of his father Sonny, a famous Jewish- Canadian boxer. As Moses buries himself in his research, he is transported back in time to the pivotal events of his father’s life. So begins the first of the five sections of the novel, each narrated by a different third person. Crammed with humour, sorrow, folly, bravery and the richness of the everyday, Tulchinsky traces the remarkable fortunes of generations of the Lapinsky family, bringing life to the character of an entire community.

August 1933: a sweltering Toronto night. At Christie Pits Park, during the ninth inning of an amateur-league softball game, four youths unfurl a white sheet emblazoned with a large black Swastika, lift their arms and shout, “Heil Hitler!” Within seconds, a group of Jewish youths charge in a struggle to capture the flag, setting off a four-hour race riot (the largest ever to occur, before or since, in Toronto), involving fifteen thousand people and injuring hundreds.

The riot at Christie Pits Park was the culmination of weeks of political and racial tension. Tulchinsky has re-created this and other defining historical moments in vivid detail, taking us inside the life of one immigrant Jewish family. We trace the fortunes of the Lapinskys—in particular the four sons—from the pivotal moment of the riots, through the years of the Great Depression, the rise of fascism and all its attendant social tensions, World War II, into the post-war era that began to emerge in the early 1950s. A stunning, engaging and moving fictional treatment of a defining moment for a family, a city, a nation and a continent struggling with ideas of freedom, tolerance and identity in a world broken by war.

Short-listed 2004 Toronto Book Awards

Short-listed 2008 Vancouver Public Library One Book, One Vancouver Award

“Karen X. Tulchinsky’s latest novel might be considered old-fashioned in the very best sense; it’s got lots of heart.”
National Post

“A highly entertaining, well-written and worthwhile piece of work.”
Toronto Sun