3 out of 4 stars
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Two stories unfold — one of undying love and devotion and another of daring love and faith. In Solomon The Accountant by Edward M. Krauss, these stories take root, and a compelling tale of love, tears, and hope comes to fruition. Solomon The Accountant might seem like a typical romance story, but the devil is in the details. The unexpected way the story unfolds, the rich Yiddish cultural heritage, and the dreamy scenery of the 1950s all combine to create a wholesome and satisfying narrative.
Molly is a young widow whose young marriage has just ended due to an unexpected tragedy. However, she must move on. But how soon is too soon, and how does she overcome the guilt of letting go? Solomon is a culprit whose sin is loving someone who once belonged to another. He is, however, determined to continue with his pursuit in the hope that love will win in the end. Herman and Deborah are in love, but there is a divide — a huge gulf between them. While Deborah is unwavering in her stand, Herman is hesitant to join her. They both have to find a solution rooted in love and understanding. This book tells the tale of two couples united by friendship, a common heritage, and a quest to find happiness.
As mentioned earlier, though the plotline is easily predictable (at least for one of the couples), the journey to the final destination is the intriguing element in this book. The social-cultural dynamics of the Yiddish background of the characters don't heavily influence the narrative. In fact, the characters are 'modern' in their outlook and conduct. There were no matchmakers, no awkward first dates, no strong family influence in the young ones' lives, and no strict observance of Yiddish rituals. This is not to say that the sense of community was absent; it was ever-present. We see a synergy between the ancient and the modern, enriched by capitalist America's spirit and rooted in beliefs dating back to thousands of years. That sense of responsibility permeates throughout the book, and its result is heartwarming.
An interesting point to note about this book is the presence of a narrator who lays down the facts and invites the reader to enjoy this fascinating tale. From time to time, he reminds us of his presence, drawing us in as if revealing a secret. Another point is the unique sentence structure with its 'eastern Europe flavor' and Yiddish filler words that give it a unique air and tugs at the heart of readers within the community; thus, eliciting a smile from time to time and a sense of being represented. The author also used dialogues extensively, which endears the characters to the reader, as their personalities and degree of relationships can be interpreted through these conversations. Readers unfamiliar with the culture are not left out, as certain words and concepts are explained. Finally, there is a beautiful flow of the narrative from chapter to chapter, creating a slow yet heavy passage of events.
I had a couple of issues with the book. First, there were many errors. Sadly, most of the errors are typos, nothing too jarring. However, for an 84-page book, I expected to see little to no grammatical errors. I felt a tad disappointed. Secondly, the spellings of some words like 'chupa' and 'kipoh' appear to be faulty, as they are missing some letters. There are, of course, varying alternatives to the spellings, but none of them were used. Finally, the chapters' arrangement was an issue for me, as the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another tend to be on the same page. I would suggest this book be reformatted and re-edited to fix these issues.
This book is definitely for readers of romance. It is mature and yet edgy, with some funny exchanges in between. As I said, it is modern and not ladened with religious observation and symbolism, so its readers aren't confined. Any lover of romantic novels will find it to their taste. I will rate this book a 3 out of 4. I deducted a point due to the reasons I stated in the preceding paragraph.
Solomon The Accountant
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