On a bleak December day in 1907, Esther and Hersh Lipshitz and their four children complete their flight from Kishinev, Russia, and the pogroms that have plagued its Jewish community. As they arrive at Ellis Island, Esther and her husband are separated from their blond five-year-old son, Reuven, whose disappearance sets in motion the events recounted in T Cooper's energetic and poignant second novel, Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes.
The Lipshitz family soon joins Esther's brother in Amarillo, Texas, as participants in a program to relocate Jewish immigrants to sparsely populated areas of the country. Despite the distance that separates her from New York, Esther clings to the hope that someday she'll be united with her beloved Reuven. Then, in May 1927, she spots a newspaper photograph of the blond-haired, blue-eyed Charles Lindbergh, the quintessential American hero who has just completed his solo transatlantic flight. The photograph convinces Esther that Lindbergh is the son she lost 20 years earlier. She spends the rest of her life in a passionate quest to communicate with her son, carrying on a one-sided correspondence with the Lindbergh family and accumulating a treasure trove of clippings and memorabilia of the famous aviator's career. The final section of the book fast-forwards 60 years, to New York City in 2002. Esther's great-grandson, T Cooper, is a novelist stalled in his attempt to recount the story of the Lipshitz family. Instead of writing, he makes his living impersonating the blond rapper Eminem at bar mitzvah parties. When his parents are killed in a car accident, T returns to Amarillo for the first time in more than 14 years to bury them. There, he confronts the Lindbergh legacy and other ghosts of the family's past, with both hilarious and tragic consequences. The novel's climax delivers a stunning, yet satisfying, resolution to the Lipshitz family chronicle. Whether it's enjoyed as an immigrant saga, a multigenerational family tale or a sly commentary on the phenomenon of fame in our time, Cooper's novel reveals a fresh, engaging voice that will capture the reader's imagination from the first word and hold it to the last. Harvey Freedenberg writes from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.