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The Secretkeepersby: Charles Rammelkamp
Publication Date: September 2004
Shop: IndieBound, Barnes & Noble
“Charles Rammelkamp’s The Secretkeepers is a marvelous first novel filled with the kind of vivid, flawed, exasperating, and seething-with-life characters who might grace the fiction of Bellow, Roth, and Bruce J. Friendman, and whom one might indeed encounter in one’s own family. It’s part a paean to marriage and all its travails, trials, and joys and part a dissection of the pain and happiness that only parents can inflict on their beloved children-victims, with all the best intentions and self-delusions in the world. And hovering above this evocatively written and poignantly funny stew of a novel is Baltimore, itself one of Rammelkamp’s most compelling and lively characters, in much the same way that the charm of a city inhabits and informs the films of Barry Levinson. Rammelkamp has created a wonderfully witty tragic-comedy of manners. The writing sparkles and flares like really impressive fireworks, but unlike the brilliant ephemera, never calls preening attention to itself and always serves the story and Rammelkamp’s characters.”
-- Robert Cooperman, winner of the Colorado Book Award for In The Colorado Gold Fever Mountains, and author of In The Household Of Percy Bysshe Shelley, and The Widow’s Burden.
“I very much enjoyed this witty, intelligent novel not only for its schlemiel hero’s perpetual hot nuts for every pair of breasts in sight, as he bumbles, not unlike the rest of us, through his messy life, but for its shrewd take on Judaism from a Jewish convert’s point of view. As a Jew myself, I especially admired his parody of his protagonist’s in-laws’ knee-jerk defense of the Israeli government’s treatment of the Palestinians. I was ready to stand up and cheer the author’s good sense—and comic gifts. I’d make it required reading for all U.S. Jews.”
-- Edward Field, author of Counting Myself Lucky, and (with Neil Derrick) The Villagers.
“Charles Rammelkamp is a writer of exceptional depth and humor, his mind a questing bloodhound on the trail of a nest of quarry. In this, his first novel, he unleashes his Updike-like talent upon the outsider Peter Bridgewater, a converted Jew seeking a home among his in-laws scattered in the never ending diaspora of America. He works his magic on the settings of coastal Maryland and the shores of Lake Michigan where, amid tragedy and scandal human lives wash and break against each other like shingle in a turgid tide. This is tall writing, wide-shouldered and multifaceted, self-assured and generous, a fitting homage to the moderns and contemporaries Rammelkamp knows like old friends.”
-- Robert Bixby, Editor and Publisher of Parting Gifts and March Street Press
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