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SHALOM TOWER SYNDROME

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SHALOM TOWER SYNDROME
The novel is set in Israel.  Alexis, who grew up in Rwanda-Urundi, is the son of an Italian Jew and a beautiful mulatto woman.  As a young adult, he now ponders over the complexity of his roots: African-European and Judeo-Christian (his mother was raised a Catholic).  The author guides the reader through a progression of exciting and complicated episodes involving Alexis. With his American wife he will vacation in Israel, and that stay will be a turning point in his life.  The past catches up with him, exploding with the images of one man's life kaleidoscope: the memories of his African years, colliding with the more recent images of Milan, the smells, the colors and the primeval beauty of the black continent, mingling with those of Italy, as well as with the violent feelings Israel stirs in him.  In that dense and haunting atmosphere he will meet young Israelis, a Palestinian and a German professor, the nephew of a Nazi soldier who died during WWII.  Will Alexis finally reconcile himself with the conflicting parts of his identity?  Will he feel more African or more European; more Catholic or more Jewish; or will his new environment help him find peace within himself, in spite of the country’s current dangers?  The ‘mystery’ will unravel in the last chapter of this largely autobiographical novel.


excerpt of introduction

‘There is a type of novel whose aim, as Jonathan Swift wrote of his intention behind Gulliver's Travels, is to “vex the world rather than divert it.”  If it's a good and true novel then it will inevitably also serve both as a vexatious testament and a diverting read.  Such is Albert Russo's Shalom Tower Syndrome.  Shalom Tower Syndrome shares attributes with Eric Ambler's tales of “innocents abroad,” but it also shares a great deal with those 19th and early 20th century authors of the roman à clef, “romances with a key,” especially those penetratingly insightful books and stories written by the Swiss novelist Hermann Hesse that Hesse dubbed Seelenbiographie or “biographies of the soul.”  Shalom Tower Syndrome is very much a biography of the soul, and as much as that of any latter-day Harry Haller, and Russo seems to have dredged in its pages the depths of his own being in order to have written it.’               
David Alexander


Excerpt from James Baldwin's letter to the author, penned the year of his death: “I like your work very much indeed.  It has a very gentle surface and a savage under-tow. You're a dangerous man.”

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Cone, S

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Cleveland, OH

Rex, Rex, Tillerson Rex – the Trump White House continues to be an incestuous
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Admittedly, all too often in practice, We the People have fallen short of
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