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A Novel

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Raphael Lipkin is a man obsessed. He hears voices. He talks to ghosts. He is spending the summer at the Mountain Clinic, a psychiatric hospital in upstate New York—not as a patient, but as a visiting professional with a secret, personal quest.

A professor of literature and a Holocaust survivor, Raphael, having rebuilt his life since the war, sees it on the verge of coming apart once more. He longs to talk to Pedro, the man who rescued him as a fifteen-year-old orphan from postwar Poland and brought him to Paris, becoming his friend, mentor, hero, and savior. But Pedro disappeared inside the prisons of Stalin’s Russia shortly after the war. Where is Pedro now, and how can Raphael discern what is true and what is false without him?

A mysterious nighttime caller directs Raphael’s search to the Mountain Clinic, a unique asylum for patients whose delusions spring from the Bible. Amid patients calling themselves Adam, Cain, Abraham, Joseph, Jeremiah, and God, Raphael searches for Pedro’s truth and the meaning of his own survival in a novel that penetrated the mysteries of good, evil, and madness.

Publishers Weekly Review

Apr 25, 1988 – Exploring the painful affinity between life and death, sanity and madness, Nobel Laureate Wiesel draws yet again on the experiences of the Holocaust to provide an answer. At the novel's center is Raphael Lipkin, a professor who, convinced he is going mad, seeks respite from his tortured imaginings in a mental clinic where he is both a temporary staff member, exploring the relationship between madness and prophecy, and a patient. Raphael's family has disappeared into the death camps, but although he speaks to them in his dreams, it is to his absent friend Pedro that he pours out his heart, for whom he searches among the madmen in the sanitarium. Guilt obsesses him, as it must all survivors, but the particularity of his guilt resides in Pedro, who gave his life or his sanity (which for Raphael are the same) in an effort to save Raphael's brother Yoel. Poignant though the recounted suffering must in fact have been, the canvas is too broad for any single player to kindle sympathy, the expression of emotion too overblown to bring tears. Torture, death, the violence of separation are recounted in cliche-ridden prose. Yet a lingering question manages to possess the reader: Is every survivor already half dead?
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  • $13.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Fiction & Literature
  • Published: Feb 12, 2013
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Seller: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc.
  • Print Length: 224 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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