Sometime during his restless fifteenth year, Bernie Karp discovered in his parents’ food freezer – a white-enameled Kelvinator humming in its corner of the basement rumpus room – an old man frozen in a block of ice.
The heirloom of a Jewish family is a Rabbi frozen in a large piece of ice. When he defrosts and wakes, things start to get confusing. The main story is about a small family that doesn’t live with each other, but next to each other. The son discovers the Rabbi and his actions bring him back to life (which makes him feel like he has the biggest claim on the man), but his mother and father are affected by the situation as well.
When we’re not with the contemporary family, we dive into the history of the Rabbi and the families he stayed with before.
For a long time I really liked this book. It was quirky, created some amazing world building and educated me about a lot of Jewish things. Until suddenly a switch was flipped and pretty much every character turned into a show case for greed, neglect and depression. Things swirl down the drain and with an absolute absurd and disgusting ending you’re booted from the story; take from it what you want.
If I’d be a book vandal, I’d cut out the second half and recommend the book after.
The Frozen Rabbi, Steve Stern, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill 2010