As far as romance goes, Dr. Jakob Sammelsohn is fairly incurable. Twice married, once divorced, once widowed - all by the tender age of 12 - he finally flees his small village and his pious, vengeful father. A lovelorn Candide, young Dr. Sammelsohn wanders optimistically through history - pursued by the amorous ghost of his dead wife.
Arriving in Vienna in 1890, a chance encounter with Sigmund Freud leads our hero into the arms of Emma Eckstein, one of Freud’s most famous patients. Later he romances the beautiful and wealthy Loe Bernfeld, who carries him into the world of Esperanto and the universal-language movement. Finally, Dr. Sammelsohn finds himself in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940, only to become a pawn in a battle over the path to heaven.
A Curable Romantic is a novel of personal and historical exile that could spring only from the literary imagination of a virtuoso. Often fantastical yet always grounded in tradition and history, it is that rare literary feat - a truly incomparable tale, ingenuously laid, peopled with characters who live on in the memory.
“This is a fascinating, ambitious, and very successful novel about Jewish folklore, the quest for spiritual truth, and the darkest days of the 20th century. It is to Skibell’s credit that this complex plot comes off as believable, engaging, and often inspiring. Highly recommended for readers of literary fiction.” (Library Journal)
“Skibell’s delicious juxtaposition of Sammelsohn against the cocaine snorting Freud, and Sammelsohn’s infatuation with the ‘cruel, vindictive, haughty, caustic, dismissive, even murderous’ character of Emma Eckstein, one of Freud’s patients, make for a magnetic collection of personalities.” (Publishers Weekly)
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an amazing book