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Responsible Men Book

Responsible Men
Responsible Men, , Responsible Men has a rating of 2.5 stars
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Responsible Men, , Responsible Men
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  • Responsible Men
  • Written by author Edward Schwarzschild
  • Published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, September 2006
  • Max Wolinsky comes from a family of mostly upstanding salesmen. On the eve of his son’s bar mitzvah, he returns home to Philadelphia, where he plans to put the finishing touches on a not-so-honorable business transaction and then head back to Florid
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Max Wolinsky comes from a family of mostly upstanding salesmen. On the eve of his son’s bar mitzvah, he returns home to Philadelphia, where he plans to put the finishing touches on a not-so-honorable business transaction and then head back to Florida. Nothing, though, goes as planned. Coming home, it seems, means coming to terms with his family. It means facing the expectations of his father, the needs of his stroke-addled uncle, and the adolescent tribulations of his son.

If Max can be civil to his ex-wife, listen to his son, and pull off one last scam so his father and uncle can live a better life, everything might turn out all right. But Max doesn’t figure on meeting Estelle. And he certainly doesn’t count on his uncle, who, unbeknownst to anyone, has his own master plan for the family. Responsible Men lays bare a private world in prose that rings with honesty, intelligence, humor, wisdom, and, above all, humanity.

Publishers Weekly

Wrapped up inside this debut novel about a shady salesman is a warm tale of father-son reconciliation. Like his father, Caleb, Max Wolinsky is a salesman-but he's always had a bit of the con in him, starting with his college days scalping tickets in his hometown of Philly. The bright point of Max's life was his marriage to Sandy and the birth of their son, Nathan, but now Max and Sandy are divorced, and Max is relegated to dropping in from Key Largo for his son's Philadelphia bar mitzvah. Caleb no longer sells, but spends his days taking care of his brother Abe, who has been left nearly mute by a stroke. Even 13-year-old Nathan has it tough: his grandfather is pressuring him to join a kosher Boy Scout troop instead of letting him play baseball. As soon as he lands in town, Max starts a scam involving shares in a nonexistent retirement community-a scam that runs him afoul of some nasty former partners-in-crime. But hope is on the horizon, too, in the form of Nathan's scoutmaster Mervyn Spiller, who has an elaborate scheme to import cheap Boy Scout uniforms from China. If some of these plot elements feel a bit too convenient, Schwarzschild makes up for it with evocative descriptions of his low-rent Philadelphia setting. Worn-out diners, bunker-like synagogues, no-frills bowling alleys, he clearly knows his terrain. Agent, Dorian Karchmar. (Apr. 8) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.


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