"The fashion business meets Kabbalah in Montreal's garment district.
In a novel that does for Chabanel Street what Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz did for St. Urbain Street, a 36-year-old Orthodox Jew, Gershon Stein, collects rent in a large industrial building in the heart of Montreal's needletrade. Meanwhile, he struggles to reconcile his relationship with his ailing Holocaust-survivor father, find balance in his family life, and match wits with his arch-nemesis, Joey Putkin, an Israeli leather coat manufacturer leasing the basement of his building.
Gershon's days are occupied by an array of colourful tenants: Arnie Free, who makes footwear for Hasidic Jews and strippers; Sonny Lipsey, whose shtick is giving industry characters the perfect nicknames; and the delicate Michelle Labelle, whose face seems to emit a mysterious light. If there is one thing Gershon knows, it's that life is rented and everyone has a debt to pay: to their landlord, their family, their community, and, most of all, to their soul."
I fully intended to write a review about this exceptional debut novel (named as a finalist for the prestigious Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award); however, after pondering The Rent Collector for many weeks, and reading several amazing reviews, I realized that anything I say will be lifted from one of those reviews. Instead, I'm providing links to several of the reviews and will allow the reviewers to speak for themselves.
Do yourself a favour, run out and buy this book!
Between God and schmatte - review by Brett Hooton at Hour.ca
Review: The Rent Collector - review by Charles Demers at Seven Oaks Magazine
- Demers' interview with B. Glen Rochin
Review by Kristine Kowalchuk at Montreal Review of Books (mRb), a publication of the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec
Publisher: Esplanade Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Véhicule Press - Celebrating Literature
About Véhicule Press:
For over thirty years Véhicule Press has been publishing prize-winning books: poetry, fiction, social history, Quebec Studies, Jewish studies, jazz history, and restaurant guides. Esplanade Books is the fiction imprint of Véhicule Press. Esplanade publishes novels and short story collections--books that fall between the cracks, works of unusual structure and form, short sharp monologues.
tags: books small press book reviews B. Glen Rotchin