Amazon.com – Most Helpful Book Review – 5.0 out of 5 stars “Creating an identity” January 14, 2013 by FrizzText:
Which conditions are creating our identity – parallel to the chromosomes? The city we are living in, our jobs, friends, the chosen lifestyle, the typical weather conditions, the music maybe too? The author Stephen Baum, Jewish, raised in the Bronx, New York. His novel “UP IN THE BRONX” for sure had some autobiographical inspirations. The writer studied in Jerusalem, later he came back to the U.S. (California). We can discover similar changes watching the life of his novel’s main character Jack. The first part is a wonderful description of the Bronx neighborhood, New York in the seventies: the rich, the poor, the criminals, the typical jobs and love affairs, the weather all over the year – congenial to the fate, suffered by the main characters: Jack, Maria, Madeleine, Herbert etc. – I often had a flashback to other novels I already read: by John dos Passos (Manhattan Transfer) or Henry Miller (the Sexus, Nexus, Plexus trilogy). In part two Stephen Baum gives a short description of Israel (and then California, L.A.) twenty years later, in the nineties. I’m a German follower of the author’s daily blog bumbastories at wordpress. Me, living in another country with another history. But creating an own identity we both know the same procedure: to get some distance to the neighborhood, maybe the whole nation, at least the religion, developing some sarcasm and self-reliance. I’m not Jewish (but have Jewish friends in New York nevertheless who escaped the Nazi Third Reich), but I understand the goal, to be free, not fixed in the horizon of one nation or religion. Both we have the same passion, Stephen Baum and me: Blues music. A new step, leaving a cultural box for both of us. A human being is able to create an own personal identity if he has enough courage. Parallel to his book the author produced a blues CD with lyrics congenial to his book. Actually my favorite audio tracks!
photo above by frizztext, shot in Manhattan, near Central Park
actually I noticed, that the Simon Wiesenthal institute in L.A. attacks the German journalist Augstein, who said some critical words about politics in Israel. He was called anti-semitic, but I think he isn’t; I’m very interested on the author’s poetic approach to the theme – because my favorite philosophers were all Jewish: Martin Buber, Hannah Arendt, Theodor Adorno, Ernst Bloch etc. [but I also enjoyed the Jewish poet Saul Bellow – or the Jewish fingerstyle guitarist David Bromberg, I wrote reviews about all of them for amazon too]
oh I found in my flickr shoebox a slideshow with my New York shots – and in the background I’m playing on my Dobro resonator blues guitar: BAD MOON RISING! Enjoy it!