The Night, The Day

By – March 19, 2015

An ex-Nazi meets the Long Island Jew­ish psy­chol­o­gist in Andrew Kane’s grip­ping new novel.

Mar­tin Rosen, a high­ly respect­ed and eth­i­cal clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist as well as a best-sell­ing author is at a cross­roads in his own life. He’s lost his wife and baby son in a DUI acci­dent and his young daugh­ter, Eliz­a­beth, has become the cen­ter and pur­pose of his life. Mar­tin has long left his Jew­ish Ortho­dox par­ents’ Brook­lyn home and beliefs and hasn’t looked back. He’s con­fused about his right to a new life, much less a love life, while still griev­ing his loss.

Jacques Benoit is an extreme­ly wealthy inter­na­tion­al hotel czar who has suc­cess­ful­ly hid­den his pri­or life. He was a Nazi offi­cial instru­men­tal in the heinous roundups in Lyon, France. Now liv­ing on Long Island, he expe­ri­ences a rash moment and tries to com­mit sui­cide to assuage his guilt. Benoit then seeks out Rosen as his ther­a­pist for his own rea­sons and devices. He engages in a cat and mouse game through­out their ses­sions where his actions are always cal­cu­lat­ed and delib­er­ate. He even­tu­al­ly shows his cards when he gifts” Rosen with a wartime sou­venir.”

Mar­tin has become involved with the beau­ti­ful Cheryl Man­ning, but some­thing seems amiss. He has nag­ging doubts about her and strug­gles to real­ize what is wrong with their rela­tion­ship. Mean­while a Mossad agent, Galit Stein, is on a mis­sion to avenge the vic­tims of the Holo­caust, but has trapped her­self in a sit­u­a­tion beyond her control.

The main char­ac­ters are joined in the action by FBI and Mossad agents, NYPD, Long Island author­i­ties, and Martin’s colleagues.

From the excit­ing pro­logue on, the read­er intense­ly fol­lows the sus­pense­ful action and psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare. Pen­sive and reflec­tive office ther­a­py ses­sions and touch­ing fam­i­ly scenes are coun­tered by big burst­ing action scenes that tran­spire in short, pow­er­ful chap­ters. The his­tor­i­cal flash­backs of the vio­lent French roundups are pow­er­ful­ly depict­ed. Long Islanders will nod as they rec­og­nize the many local land­marks included.

Kane brings his own psy­chol­o­gy back­ground, exper­tise, and input to the nar­ra­tive. Patient con­fi­den­tial­i­ty and its far-reach­ing impli­ca­tions are explored. Is not tak­ing an insid­er trad­ing tip from a patient the same as not help­ing author­i­ties find a most cal­lous killer? Will Mar­tin ever betray his ethics for some­one else’s cause? Can being above reproach be achieved? Kane por­trays the many ways psy­chol­o­gists think about think­ing and about the ques­tions they ask or don’t ask.

This immense­ly read­able book presents the themes of for­give­ness, guilt, love, and jus­tice. The cov­er pho­to of the train tracks to death reap­pears often in strate­gic white spaces in the text. It is illus­trat­ed as a small black and white train track with an off­shoot spur. What choic­es and which track will be tak­en? Will the char­ac­ters move from the black­ness of the night to the light of the day?

Reni­ta Last is a mem­ber of the Nas­sau Region of Hadassah’s Exec­u­tive Board. She has coor­di­nat­ed the Film Forum Series for the Region and served as Pro­gram­ming and Health Coor­di­na­tors and as a mem­ber of the Advo­ca­cy Committee.

She has vol­un­teered as a docent at the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty teach­ing the all- impor­tant lessons of the Holo­caust and tol­er­ance. A retired teacher of the Gift­ed and Tal­ent­ed, she loves par­tic­i­pat­ing in book clubs and writ­ing projects.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Andrew Kane 

  • After Benoit’s sui­cide, Galit accus­es Mar­tin of manip­u­lat­ing him to kill him­self.” Do you think Mar­tin con­scious­ly led Benoit to sui­cide? Did he know but not care? Or is Galit right?

  • Whether Mar­tin sim­ply ignored the signs or pur­pose­ful­ly drove Benoit to sui­cide, he can be con­sid­ered cul­pa­ble in Benoit’s death. As a high­ly regard­ed psy­chol­o­gist, Mar­tin is bound by the fun­da­men­tal ethics of his pro­fes­sion. Was Mar­tin right to com­pro­mise his pro­fes­sion­al ethics for a high­er moral­i­ty? At what point should one pri­or­i­tize per­son­al moral val­ues over pro­fes­sion­al ethics?

  • Con­sid­er the sig­nif­i­cance of the brooch. Orig­i­nal­ly, it was a tro­phy. Did its mean­ing change through­out Benoit’s life? Do you think Benoit actu­al­ly felt guilty for his past and came to Mar­tin seek­ing for­give­ness, or were these alli­ga­tor tears for a grander scheme? To what degree was his sui­cide out of fear or gen­uine guilt?

  • When Dan Gif­ford reads of Benoit’s sui­cide, he con­cludes it was con­ve­nient, and some­how just.” Do you think Benoit met jus­tice? Did con­ve­nience get in the way of justice?

  • Can one feel pen­i­tence, or indeed pay penance, for such heinous crimes?

  • When Benoit asks Mar­tin for for­give­ness, Mar­tin says, I do not rep­re­sent the Jew­ish peo­ple any more than you rep­re­sent the French or the Nazis.” Are there lev­els to which we do rep­re­sent our peo­ple as indi­vid­u­als? Is it absolute? Can Martin’s for­give­ness nul­li­fy any­thing beyond just Benoit’s per­son­al feelings?

  • Was it right of Galit to mis­lead Mar­tin as long as she did, or should she have kept her cov­er the whole time? Did she know slid­ing the dossier under his door would tip him off or was there some oth­er moti­va­tion for her in doing this?

  • Does Galit play her role a lit­tle too well? Can she do her job while remain­ing true to her­self? Are there his­tor­i­cal par­a­digms of women com­pro­mis­ing them­selves for the greater good?

  • Did Kather­ine and Ethan’s deaths play any role in Mar­tin putting his per­son­al ideas of jus­tice above oth­er aspects of his moral sensibilities?

  • Mar­tin is the ther­a­pist. Dan Gif­ford is the law. Did Gif­ford influ­ence Martin’s thoughts on jus­tice, even though he was the patient?

  • Know­ing Mar­tin as well as you do, would you see him as a psychologist?