COVID-19 update: Victoria update. Click for details.
Contact Us Need help? Contact us
Explore Departments
Departments

Not Me

by Michael Lavigne

  • Paperback
    $27.25
PUBLISHED: 13th February 2007
ISBN: 9780812973327
ANNOTATION:
Dealing with universal questions surrounding identity, forgiveness, and unconditional love, "Not Me" is the heart wrenching story of a son who learns in his father's final hours that the devoutly Jewish man may have actually been a Nazi.
$27.25
Or pay later with
Leaves warehouse in 9 to 11 days
From USA
Delivery
Check your delivery time: Your delivery location:
{{ SelectedArea.Suburb }}{{ SelectedArea.Country == 'AU' ? (', ' + SelectedArea.State) : '' }} ({{ SelectedArea.Postcode }}) change
  • {{ Area.Suburb }}{{ Area.Country == 'AU' ? (', ' + Area.State) : '' }} {{ Area.Postcode }}
  • Your area not listed?
    Try search by suburb and postcode.
{{ DeliveryOption.expectation }} - {{ DeliveryOption.door_time }}
{{ DeliveryOption.price | currencyCentsFree }}
from {{ DeliveryOption.price | currencyCentsFree }}
Option unavailable
If ordered {{ DeliveryOption.cutoff }}
{{ DeliveryOption.name }}
{{ DeliveryOption.special_message }}
 
 
!
An error occurred getting delivery options
Sorry about that, please try again later.
OTHER FORMATS:
  • Paperback
    $27.25
PUBLISHED: 13th February 2007
ISBN: 9780812973327
ANNOTATION:
Dealing with universal questions surrounding identity, forgiveness, and unconditional love, "Not Me" is the heart wrenching story of a son who learns in his father's final hours that the devoutly Jewish man may have actually been a Nazi.

Annotation

Dealing with universal questions surrounding identity, forgiveness, and unconditional love, "Not Me" is the heart wrenching story of a son who learns in his father's final hours that the devoutly Jewish man may have actually been a Nazi.

Publisher Description

Not Me is a remarkable debut novel that tells the dramatic and surprising stories of two men-father and son-through sixty years of uncertain memory, distorted history, and assumed identity. When Heshel Rosenheim, apparently suffering from Alzheimer's disease, hands his son, Michael, a box of moldy old journals, an amazing adventure begins-one that takes the reader from the concentration camps of Poland to an improbable love story during the battle for Palestine, from a cancer ward in New Jersey to a hopeless marriage in San Francisco. The journals, which seem to tell the story of Heshel's life, are so harrowing, so riveting, so passionate, and so perplexing that Michael becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about his father. As Michael struggles to come to grips with his father's elusive past, a world of complex and disturbing possibilities opens up to him-a world in which an accomplice to genocide may have turned into a virtuous Jew and a young man cannot recall murdering the person he loves most; a world in which truth is fiction and fiction is truth and one man's terrible-or triumphant-transformation calls history itself into question. Michael must then solve the biggest riddle of all: Who am I? Intense, vivid, funny, and entirely original, Not Me is an unsparing and unforgettable examination of faith, history, identity, and love.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Author Biography

Michael Lavigne was born in Newark, New Jersey. He began seriously writing fiction only at midlife and was a participant of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Not Me is his first novel, and he is currently working on his second, set in Moscow, where he once lived. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Gayle.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Review

Advance praise for Not Me"What a daring, even dangerous, act of the imagination this novel is! Not Me challenges one emotionally and intellectually. It's that rare phenomenon: a philosophical thriller that will draw you in and leave you arguing furiously with yourself after you're done."-Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler "A novel with a powerfully unsettling moral conundrum at its heart: Is radical evil indelible; can anything undo it? But what philosophy cannot resolve, storytelling triumphantly can. Lavigne's radiantly imagined portrait of human possibility never obscures the blackest abyss of real history, and his Heshel Rosenheim emerges with all the complexity of a modern Raskolnikov."-Cynthia Ozick, author of Heir to the Glimmering World"Michael Lavigne has an immensely powerful story to tell of guilt and redemption. Beyond its riveting plot, Not Me is a novel about the loss and recovery of love. In this sense it reminded me of Dickens's Great Expectations: Heshel Rosenheim is as mysterious and haunting as Magwitch, and the lesson that his uncanny life imparts to his son, and to Lavigne's readers, is on a grand human scale, and unforgettable."-Jonathan Wilson, author of A Palestine Affair "Family secrets, awful historical truths, the nature of good and evil, and the bond between a son and his father are woven seamlessly into a page-turning plot. Michael Lavigne writes with generosity of heart and he leaves the reader with an abundance of hope. Not Me is a powerful debut novel."-Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment "A disturbing yet surprisingly tender read that grips the reader from page 1 and never lets go. Michael Lavigne tells his intriguing story with intelligence, sensitivity, and flashes of scintillating wit. What more could you ask from a novel?"-Aaron Hamburger, author of Faith for Beginners

Long Description

Not Me is a remarkable debut novel that tells the dramatic and surprising stories of two men-father and son-through sixty years of uncertain memory, distorted history, and assumed identity. When Heshel Rosenheim, apparently suffering from Alzheimer's disease, hands his son, Michael, a box of moldy old journals, an amazing adventure begins-one that takes the reader from the concentration camps of Poland to an improbable love story during the battle for Palestine, from a cancer ward in New Jersey to a hopeless marriage in San Francisco. The journals, which seem to tell the story of Heshel's life, are so harrowing, so riveting, so passionate, and so perplexing that Michael becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about his father. As Michael struggles to come to grips with his father's elusive past, a world of complex and disturbing possibilities opens up to him-a world in which an accomplice to genocide may have turned into a virtuous Jew and a young man cannot recall murdering the person he loves most; a world in which truth is fiction and fiction is truth and one man's terrible-or triumphant-transformation calls history itself into question. Michael must then solve the biggest riddle of all: Who am I? Intense, vivid, funny, and entirely original, Not Me is an unsparing and unforgettable examination of faith, history, identity, and love. "From the Hardcover edition."

Review Quote

Advance praise for "Not Me" "What a daring, even dangerous, act of the imagination this novel is! Not Me challenges one emotionally and intellectually. It's that rare phenomenon: a philosophical thriller that will draw you in and leave you arguing furiously with yourself after you're done." -Ron Rosenbaum, author of Explaining Hitler "A novel with a powerfully unsettling moral conundrum at its heart: Is radical evil indelible; can anything undo it? But what philosophy cannot resolve, storytelling triumphantly can. Lavigne's radiantly imagined portrait of human possibility never obscures the blackest abyss of real history, and his Heshel Rosenheim emerges with all the complexity of a modern Raskolnikov." -Cynthia Ozick, author of Heir to the Glimmering World "Michael Lavigne has an immensely powerful story to tell of guilt and redemption. Beyond its riveting plot, Not Me is a novel about the loss and recovery of love. In this sense it reminded me of Dickens's Great Expectations: Heshel Rosenheim is as mysterious and haunting as Magwitch, and the lesson that his uncanny life imparts to his son, and to Lavigne's readers, is on a grand human scale, and unforgettable." -Jonathan Wilson, author of A Palestine Affair "Family secrets, awful historical truths, the nature of good and evil, and the bond between a son and his father are woven seamlessly into a page-turning plot. Michael Lavigne writes with generosity of heart and he leaves the reader with an abundance of hope. Not Me is a powerful debut novel." -Binnie Kirshenbaum, author of An Almost Perfect Moment "A disturbing yet surprisingly tender read that grips the reader from page 1 and never lets go.Michael Lavigne tells his intriguing story with intelligence, sensitivity, and flashes of scintillating wit. What more could you ask from a novel?" -Aaron Hamburger, author of Faith for Beginners "From the Hardcover edition."

Discussion Question for Reading Group Guide

  1. How does the nature of memory play an important part in this story? What traps and opportunities does memory create for Michael and for the people around him? 2. Discuss the role of place setting in this novel and in Fiction in general. How, and why, are places "characters," and how does place affect you personally? 3. What kind of person is Heinrich? Do you know any people like him? Could you be such a person? 4. What feelings are aroused in you by the descriptions of the concentration camps and by Heinrich/Heshel's role in the murder of thousands? 5. Why do you think the author opted to make Heinrich a bookkeeper as opposed to a Nazi soldier? 6. Hannah Arendt created the phrase "the banality of evil," referring to Adolph Eichmann, the architect of the Nazi death camp system, and those like Eichmann who commit unspeakable acts under the guise of "just doing their job." Does Heinrich Fit that description? 7. Do you think it plausible for a person to change as dramatically as Heinrich/Heshel did? Is it plausible that someone like Heinrich could Find salvation by embodying the nature of his enemy? 8. What is the role of God in this novel? 9. Everyone tells lies. Why do we lie to ourselves and others? What secret knowledge do we all carry with us? Consider a time in your life when you have been unsure whether to reveal or to conceal an important truth, and had to choose between "the truth shall set you free" and "what they don't know won't hurt them." How did you resolve it? 10. Every family has secrets. What are the effects of family secrets and how do they affect Michael's life? How have they affected yours? What happens when they are uncovered? 11. Part of the plot structure of this novel is in the form of a mys

Excerpt from Book

Chapter 1 The last person in the world I wanted to know about was my father. I did not want to know if he had lovers. I did not want to know if he took diuretics. I certainly did not want to know if he liked to masturbate, or if, even occasionally, he fantasized about teenage boys. It was of absolutely no interest to me if he cheated at bridge, or if his secret ambition was to become a ballet dancer, or if he had an obsession with women''s shoes, or if he washed his body with lemon, or if he hit my mother (especially, God forbid, if she liked it). So when I was presented with twenty-four volumes of journals, each bound with a rubber band so old it was as brittle as the leather cover it held together, and was told, "These are your father''s, take them," I was less than enthusiastic. Especially since it was my father who gave them to me. "These are your father''s," he said, "take them." "Dad," I said, "you are my father." He looked at me quizzically. His eyes were like aspic. Cloudy. Beneath which something obscure, unappetizing. "Where''s Karen?" he asked. "Karen is dead," I reminded him. "That''s not true," he said. "She was just here. I was speaking to her. Take these." With his feet, he pushed the box of journals toward my chair. "All right," I said, "I''ll take them. But I won''t read them." Then he turned away, and looked out the window. "I''m waiting for Frau Hellman," he said. "Okay, Dad," I said. I had no idea who Frau Hellman was. Maybe someone from his childhood, or maybe his name for the lady who washed him. After a little while I realized he had forgotten I was in the room. The space between us seemed to grow as if I were standing on a dock, and he were sailing away on the Queen Mary. I say the Queen Mary because he once actually did sail away on her, and I really was left behind, waving. Still, it was unthinkable that I would have a troubled relationship with my father. If I was not the perfect son, he was certainly the perfect father. I reminded myself of that as I sat there looking at him drooling, his head lolling back like a toddler''s asleep in his car seat. "He''s doing just great, isn''t he?" the station nurse said. "We just love him!" I held out the box to her. "Where did he get these? They weren''t in his room before." "I don''t know. I think someone brought them." "Who brought them?" "He has so many visitors." "He does?" "You know how popular he is!" Actually, I didn''t know he knew anybody. I thought everybody he knew was dead. I thanked Nurse Clara--her name was emblazoned on her ample, nurturing breast--and walked out into the brutal Florida heat. The car was only a few steps away, but I might as well have been crossing the Amazon River. By the time I got there, my shirt was soaked and my legs were sticking together. I turned on the air-conditioning in the Caddy, but had to wait outside for the temperature to drop--the car was an oven. In my arms was the box of journals. They weighed me down painfully. Finally I sank into the plush leather seat and let the frigid jets cool my face, my underarms. I tugged my shirt away from my body to let the air caress my stomach with its icy fingers. I sighed in relief. I put the shift in reverse, and pulled out of the spot. It''s amazing how long a Caddy will last, particularly if you never drive it. Dad bought his in ''78. I looked down at the odometer. It had twenty-two thousand miles on it. And I had to admit it was comfortable, bobbing down the road on those marshmallow shocks, riding on tires of Jell-O. Like the kiddy-car rides he used to take me on before I graduated to the bumper cars and roller coasters. I recalled how I used to be embarrassed being seen in it, especially when my dad drove twenty miles an hour in a forty-mile zone. But not anymore. His Caddy was now the coolest thing going, only he would never know it. As far as he was concerned we still had the 1952 Studebaker. If he kept regressing on schedule, in another couple of weeks he''d be curled up with a bottle in the back of his father''s ''23 Daimler. I pulled out of the parking lot and turned onto Military Trail. All the roads in West Palm Beach County look the same. Six lanes. No curves. Fast food. And every few feet the entrance to some development. The Lakes. The Bonaventure. The Greens. Everything had a The in it. They liked the word The. They also liked the word at. The Villages at The Palms. The Fairways at The Willows. I turned left at The Turn at Lake Worth Avenue. The box of journals was sitting there beside me, sort of the way Mom used to sit next to Dad, waiting for an accident to happen. But unlike her, they smelled bad--musty and moldy, decayed. Well, maybe she smelled that way now, too, I thought. But I shook that away. I didn''t know why my mind let such thoughts sneak in. I hated when that happened. But it was just part of being a comic. You always think funny. For instance, the box they were in--I noticed it was a Cheez Whiz box. This made me laugh. This is what Father chose to contain his life''s writings? I also noticed the logo was different than it is now. So it was a really old box. He''d been working at this a long, long time. Saving this stuff up, just for this moment. His patrimony. Since he had no money, maybe he thought I could get it published or something. Why would he think that? He ran a wallpaper store all his life. Who would want to read about that? I was jolted suddenly, by someone honking the horn. I looked up and the guy passed me, making a fist. I glanced down at the speedometer. I was doing twenty in a forty-mile zone. For some reason this did not strike me as funny--and I stepped on the gas. I pulled up to his building at The Ponds at Lakeshore and turned off the engine. There were only American cars in the lot, primarily Cadillacs and Buicks, and most of them had American flags on them. A gaggle of women were standing near the entrance. They were all small. How did they get so small? I wondered. They had to be less small once upon a time. Will Ella be that small one day? She''s five-eight now--could she end up four-ten? I stepped out of the car, thinking I would just leave the journals in the front seat for a while, but I knew I couldn''t. I would have to take them upstairs. But I thought: Wait. How come they weren''t in the apartment in the first place? I didn''t remember ever seeing them there. I didn''t remember him ever speaking about them. I didn''t remember him ever working on them, for that matter. Why would they suddenly appear at the nursing home? Why wouldn''t he just say, there are journals in the closet at home--I want you to read them? The box suddenly looked even more dangerous to me. Poisonous. Like a scorpion that had crawled into my sleeping bag. I went around the other side and picked it up. It had to have been stored in a basement or attic--it had that smell to it, like damp earth. I thought: shouldn''t I remember something about this? How could he have written twenty-four volumes without my ever having noticed? Maybe they were someone else''s journals. Maybe he only thought they were his. That was possible. Totally possible. Sometimes he thought I was some cousin or someone named Israel--so why not? I walked past the little ladies, and they all said hello. I said hello back and got into the elevator. I heard someone say, that was Gladys''s son. No, someone else said, that''s Rose''s. They never mentioned the men. The men had no children. Only the women. And anyway, my mother''s name was Lily. The elevator smelled like an indoor swimming pool. It crawled slowly up the side of the building like a dying man clawing his way out of a hole. It was only four floors, but in San Francisco I''d already be at the top of the Transamerica Pyramid. At least it was air-conditioned. But then the door opened onto the hall--which was no hall, it was actually a kind of gangway stuck on the outside of the building like an exposed rib--and the heat hit me again. I could feel rivers of moisture forming on my arms where the box rubbed against them. As always, it was a struggle to open the door. Finally, though, I stepped inside, shut the heat behind me, and put the box down on the dining room table. I went to the refrigerator and made myself a seltzer. Then I picked up the phone to call Ella, but then I didn''t. You call because you want to connect, but you don''t connect, you can never connect, you can''t wait to hang up, you hang up, you feel utterly alone--like you''re stuck in the bottom of a swimming pool and can''t hear anything except your own breathing. The thing is, you see, it''s the words. It''s just like a stand-up routine, or a sermon maybe. You work hard on the words, and you think the words say it, but actually it''s the delivery, and the delivery is in your body, your eyes, the fact that someone is right there in front of you and even if you can''t see them as individuals, it''s that you smell them, you sense their bodies there, it''s physical, it''s visceral. But then why do comedy albums work? And radio? Not to mention things that are written, like, say, the Talmud? My theory was hopeless, and I knew it. Anyway what would I say to her? She was oddly vexed that I''d come out here again. "If you''d pay as much attention to your son as you do your father . . ." she said when I first told her, but then she just let herself drift into silence. "By the time I get there he might not even recognize me," I''d tried to explain. But I doubted she heard me, since she''d already hung up. I supposed I could tell her about the box. I could ask her if she remembered anyone named Frau Hellman. Then I could ask her what she thought I ought to do. "I don''t know," she would say. "I''m not sure." She didn''t like to make decisions for me. At least not since the divorce. If I told her I didn''t think I wanted to read them, she would say, "That''s fine." If I said I was going to read them, she''d say, "That''s fine too." Really, when you think

Product Details

Short Title
NOT ME
Pages
315
Publisher
Random House Trade
Language
English
ISBN-10
0812973321
ISBN-13
9780812973327
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Year
2007
Publication Date
2007-02-28
Country of Publication
United States
Author
Michael Lavigne
Audience
General/Trade