This sprawling, warm-hearted story spans six continents and one hundred years, from the 1900 Sabbath table of Reizl and Lazar Solomon and their young sons, in Radautz, Bukovina to a glorious millenial reunion in Paris.
Dawid presents the family history in twenty-four accounts of varying length, rich in personal vignettes though mindful of the overriding historical arc. Here is Hans, a grandson of Reizl and Lazar, “resident alien” of Tientsin, North China, 1939; Berthold, another grandson, on day 555 of his imprisonment in a Communist prison cell, 1950; great-granddaughters Toni and Marguerite, les Belles Juenelles, internationally acclaimed Belgian duo-pianists, 1990’s.
The final story, set in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris, is an amazing set piece. From far-flung corners of the world, e.g. Dakar, Liverpool, Haifa, San Francisco, Saigon, Moscow, Capetown, Rio, Tientsin, Brussels, Dublin, New York, the descendants of Reizl and Lazar — gay, straight, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-racial, multi-talented — assemble in boisterous celebration of the ninety-second birthday of Freda, granddaughter of Reizl and Lazar, oldest surviving member of the family, and the birth of the new millennium.