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In the years prior to World War II, Moshe Goldenhirsch grew up in Prague, the son of a rabbi who believed that “there seemed to be some discrepancies between the shining glory of creation and the often baffling and rainy world in which we humans are forced to spend our lives.”

Moshe’s life, beset on the home front by familial disputes and in society by increasing opposition to Jews, had its own share of baffling circumstances. In 1934, he ran away from home and joined a circus. In time, his reputation grew and he became the famous Great Zabbatini, performing illusions for amazed audiences. Though Moshe tried to discard his Jewish identity in order to protect himself, eventually he was discovered by the Nazis and paid the price, both physically and emotionally.

When Moshe is 88 years old and living in the United States, he encounters 11-year-old Max, who clings to the hope that the Great Zabbatini’s love spell will restore his parents’ failing marriage.

This bawdy, profane old man who feels like an outcast, a person who has no place among humans, hardly seems capable of helping Max. But Moshe and Max’s stories intersect in startling ways, and both experience unexpected healing and renewal.

The Trick, which contains profanity and several sexually explicit references, is more than a historical novel about Hitler’s assault on the Jews and the repercussions felt by victims and their families for decades to come. It also reveals the deep human longing for love, forgiveness, hope, and a place to belong. (Atria)

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