The Kiss

  • Review
By – May 22, 2014

This nov­el is not a romance; rather, the title refers to the paint­ing on the cov­er by Kamil Swiatek, which depicts three musi­cians. The book is the sto­ry, or the myth, of these three musi­cians called the Rovn­er Klez­morin. Dur­ing the dark­ness of the Holo­caust, three young men, Aron, Reuven, and Ben­jamin, for­sake illus­tri­ous careers as con­cert musi­cians and choose to wan­der the Ukraine to Moscow mak­ing music to light­en the dark­ness. Myths abound: sur­vivors through­out Europe claim to have been revived by the strains of their instruments. 

Though there were hun­dreds of wit­ness­es to their mur­ders, as the years of the war dragged on, hun­dreds of sur­vivors claimed to have seen and heard the musi­cians and been redeemed. My soul was returned to me,” said one wit­ness. A myth exist­ed around Aron’s harp, a small hand-held one rarely seen, said to be the orig­i­nal harp played by King David. The for­mat of the book is care­ful­ly construct­ed and com­plex. It is com­prised of mod­ern-day tes­ti­mo­ny by sur­vivors who tell of their expe­ri­ences with the Klez­morim; sec­tions of the nov­el tell of the child­hood days of the three boys and how they became good friends and a cohe­sive band; oth­er sec­tions tell of the present days in the lives of the young men before these mag­i­cal lives were cut short. 

The word mag­i­cal is used care­ful­ly. The sto­ry floats and streams and comes alive as it awak­ens the emo­tions of the read­er. This breath­tak­ing first nov­el by Scott E. Blu­men­thal will stay with the read­er as will the strains of music that he or she will hear at spe­cial moments as the kiss of the Klez­morim plays forever.

Relat­ed content:

Suri Boiangiu recent­ly semi-retired from the posi­tion of assis­tant prin­ci­pal at an all-girls high school. She has either been an admin­is­tra­tor or taught Eng­lish at Yeshiv­ah of Flat­bush and Magen David High School. She loves read­ing mod­ern fic­tion, or any fic­tion, and Ama­zon knows her by her first name.

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