Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes

T Cooper strews ambiguity like clues at a crime scene throughout Lipshitz Six, or Two Angry Blondes (Dutton), a potent second novel. Was the author really born in the Texas Panhandle? Did Jewish refugee Esther Lipshitz really find her lost son’s body in a Central Park pond? What’s the relationship between the T Cooper who narrates the book’s one-hundred-page coda (and makes a living impersonating Eminem at bar mitzvahs) and the author of the same name? Cooper dangles tiny mysteries and then cleverly pieces them together to tell the tale of the Lipshitz family, who escape the Russian pogroms of 1903 only to lose their youngest son, Reuven, upon arrival in New York. They continue west to Amarillo, where the younger generations prosper even while their matriarch obsesses unhealthily about aviator Charles Lindbergh. The Lipshitz story is brilliant, and the post-modern coda, despite a jarringly bad transition, offers up a surprising conclusion.

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