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Description - Benjamin's Gift by Michael Golding

At the age of 71, Jean Pierre Michel Chernovsky has everything a tycoon in 1929 America could possibly want...except a son. Enter Benjamin, a startlingly beautiful orphan of the Depression with a strange strawberry birthmark blanketing his right cheek. But there's something even more extraordinary about Benjamin -- he has a wondrous, but potentially destructive, gift. As father and son blend and clash in this magical coming-of-age story, readers will meet unforgettable characters, witness surprising reversals, and be swept away by a world filled with thrilling possibilities.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780446675710
ISBN-10: 0446675717
Format: Paperback
(203mm x 140mm x 22mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Warner Books
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publish Date: 14-Sep-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions - Benjamin's Gift by Michael Golding

Book Reviews - Benjamin's Gift by Michael Golding

US Kirkus Review » A fast-paced, name-dropping tour through the recent past, complete with obligatory calls at various Big Moments. Sophomore novelist Goldin (Simple Prayers, not reviewed) begins his story in 1929 as the stock market crash roils New York. Aging Jean Pierre Michel Chernovsky has enough money to ride out the Great Depression, but this legendary lover of numerous women has never married and now desperately wants a son. Enter young Benjamin, orphaned by his parents' double suicide and discovered in the car driven by Jean Pierre's chauffeur and sidekick, beautiful African-American Cassandra Nutt. Benjamin has two notable qualities: a large strawberry birthmark on one side of his face and the ability to dematerialize and go anywhere he desires. Cosseted by his new father with every luxury, he travels to Europe, where he meets many luminaries and uses his powers to steal rare weapons for Jean Pierre, an avaricious collector. Benjamin converts to Judaism, takes up the saxophone, and reads widely; when Jean Pierre seduces the girl he loves, he runs away to Europe for keeps. There, as WWII begins, he joins a group of Dutch-Jewish vaudeville artists. When all sent to a concentration camp, Benjamin tries but fails to include his friends in a dematerialization that would spirit them away to Sweden. He himself joins the French Resistance, and from then on the action is nonstop and frequently absurd. In the 1950s, back in New York, Benjamin plays at a Harlem jazz club, marries black nuclear physicist Charlene, and, to help a cancer-ridden Cassandra (now a TV star), gives up his mysterious powers to fuel a prototype computer. As Jean Pierre dies watching the first men walk on the moon, Benjamin has an epiphany: "the world was full of miracles . . . full of comings and goings . . . you just had to watch for them." Drive-by history with a clumsy subtext that strains for meaning and heft. (Kirkus Reviews)


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