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Norman is the clever one of a close-knit Jewish family in the East End of London. Infant prodigy; brilliant barrister; the apple of his parents' eyes...until at forty-one he becomes a drug addict, confined to his bedroom, at the mercy of his hallucinations and paranoia. For Norman, his committal to a mental hospital represents the ultimate act of betrayal. For Rbbi Zweck, Norman's father, his son's deterioration is a bitter reminder of his own guilt and failure. Only Bella, the unmarried sister, still in her childhood white ankle socks, can reach across the abyss of pain to bring father and son the elusive peace which they both desperately crave.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780349130224
ISBN-10: 0349130221
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 132mm x 15mm)
Pages: 224
Imprint: Abacus
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Publish Date: 1-Jan-1988
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » Booker Prize Winner in 1970. Norman is the clever one of a rabbi's close-knit family in London's East End. Following the prodigious achievements of his childhood, he becomes a brilliant barrister, the apple of his parents' eyes. However, at the age of 41, he experiences a terrible fall from grace, becoming addicted to drugs and being confined to his room where he is prey to hallucinations and paranoia. Rubens explores the Old Testament notion of a family scapegoat, the elected member of the title, to brilliant effect; it is an idea also present in the work of R D Laing, the psychiatrist, one of her acknowledged influences. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Bernice Rubens

Bernice Rubens was born is Wales and worked as both a writer and a film maker. She is the winner of the Booker Prize for The Elected Member, and was shortlisted for the same prize for a subsequent novel: A Five Year Sentence. She died in 2004.

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Paperback, January 1988