Home Books

The Number Hall

“Boyarsky`s hero, Raphael Sanger, is a 77-year-old Holocaust survivor from Poland, ill with cancer, who has lived alone in Montreal for the past 40 years. The focus of his modest life is a surreal, symbolic game with human counters, played every day, for hours, in a vast auditorium. There Sanger meets and befriends Joseph Goldbloom, in his late 30s, whose troubles include a broken marriage, drug addiction, and debt. By taking on Goldbloom`s responsibilities, Sanger believes he can at last atone for the guilt of escaping the Nazis while so many including all his family and friends were killed. The novel is stolidly written, though it rises at times to a sort of austere eloquence. The central, controlling image of the game is powerful and disturbing; much of the plot that surrounds this core is rather mechanical and melodramatic. In balancing Sanger`s warm memories of shied life with the pathetic routines of an aging urban expatriate community, Boyarsky occasionally strikes the vibrant note ot sadness and loss we associate with 1. B. Singer.” – Douglas Hill

About the book