Bobby - young, black and happily in love with Hispanic girlfriend Maria - lives in a cramped Bronx apartment with his mother, his younger siblings and walls full of rats. But when Bobby and Maria are brutally attacked by a Hispanic gang, leaving the couple severely injured, everything changes. Maria may be lost, but, under the unusual care of the ...
Bobby - young, black and happily in love with Hispanic girlfriend Maria - lives in a cramped Bronx apartment with his mother, his younger siblings and walls full of rats. But when Bobby and Maria are brutally attacked by a Hispanic gang, leaving the couple severely injured, everything changes. Maria may be lost, but, under the unusual care of the reclusive doctor he knows only as Moishe, Bobby might just have stumbled into a hopeful future of which he could never have previously dreamed. "The Willow Tree" is a searing trip of despair and hope through the lives of America's dispossessed inner-city residents.
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-05-04 More than a decade after the publication of his story collection Song of the Silent Snow, Selby (Last Exit to Brooklyn) returns with a breathless and unconvincing tale of the fall and redemption of Bobby, a black teenager in the Bronx. At the start of the novel, Bobby and his girlfriend, Maria, are attacked by a Hispanic gang in punishment for their cross-ethnic dating. Bobby is beaten with a chain; Maria has lye thrown in her face and eventually dies. Refusing to be hospitalized, Bobby falls into the care of Moishe (aka Werner Schultz), a widower who survived the concentration camps (he claims, however, that he is not a Jew) and the death of his son in Vietnam. While Bobby plots an elaborate revenge against the Hispanic gang, Moishe seeks to impress on him the dangers of hatred and the importance of forgiveness, lessons he learned in the camps. Best read as a sort of fable, Selby's novel renders few details of ghetto life: the characters' incessant slang rings false, and the story's exact moment remains fuzzy (though the fact that the street weapons of choice appear to be knives and chains rather than semi-automatics would seem to put it somewhere in the past). Selby's characteristically chaotic prose removes the story even further from reality. What the novel does have is genuine passion, and Moishe's deep belief in forgiveness and acceptance win our sympathy, if not our belief. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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