This rollicking family history features the screwball progeny of Elyokim Faktor, Polish refugee and textile heir turned mostly beloved Canadian children’s television celebrity. The year is 2008 and Faktor’s spoiled, shiftless grandchildren are centered on their own neuroses. Then Faktor, who spent his 102 years cultivating a studied reputation for troublemaking, drops a posthumous bomb, leaving the Generation X trio to question their identities and cope in very human ways.
Earl Frumkiss, Faktor’s docile son-in-law who establishes his own fortune as king of a chain of podiatry clinics, is not the star of the eponymous saga but serves as the conduit between generations. Wex’s sharp, smart novel explores what constitutes a Jew in modern Toronto and how a waning language, Yiddish, both divides and unites a family, a neighborhood, and a religion.
Here you’ll recognize your own family, only richer and crazier. In the Frumkiss world, a beautiful bully is exiled to a boarding school for the blind. An overweight comedian accidentally rouses a crank caller to murder a neighbor. And an insect-loving hockey mom is trapped in a marriage with a man who likely loves other men. The common denominator— they’re all the descendants of Elyokim Faktor and Earl Frumkiss.