Fig Tree Books 2015
400 Pages $15.95
Review by Philip K. Jason
In a Brooklyn warehouse, part gun range and part synagogue, trouble is brewing.
Who is susceptible to the morbid attractions of terrorism? Our popular media have made clichés out of half a dozen answers. Jonathan Papernick has created a terrifying novel that illuminates the dark corners of those souls who will give their lives for a cause without regard for their own suffering or that of others.
Though this beautifully written book teems with fully realized supporting characters, most of the insights derive from the portrait of the central character—Matthew Stone. This portrait is so magnificently painted, Matthew is so brilliantly and precisely individualized, that the stock responses to the important question are overwhelmed and transformed. No more glib talk. Real life.
We meet Matthew, a twenty-five year old loser with no job, no accomplishments, and no self-worth, as he shakily responds to his father’s death. Judge Walter Stone is a version of “the great man.” A giant in his profession, disgraced by his own drives, he had given Matthew the toughest kind of love—absence and denigration. Yet he remained a giant among militant Zionists.
The judge’s father, also a Zionist hero and a similar kind of disapproving parent,was a feared gangster.
Through his father’s horde of books, books annotated with what seem like clues for Matthew’s destined role in life, and through the approaches of Jewish terrorist leaders planning a major offensive, Matthew finds his cause. Or is he carefully manipulated into it? Or is it his genetic patrimony?
Those handling his indoctrination understand his needs and play upon his fears and insecurities. . . .
To read the entire review as posted on the Jewish Book Council web site, click here: The Book of Stone by Jonathan Papernick | Jewish Book Council