Project Main Details
Not Me is a remarkable debut novel that tells the dramatic and surprising stories of two men–father and son–through sixty years of uncertain memory, distorted history, and assumed identity.
When Heshel Rosenheim, apparently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, hands his son, Michael, a box of moldy old journals, an amazing adventure begins–one that takes the reader from the concentration camps of Poland to an improbable love story during the battle for Palestine, from a cancer ward in New Jersey to a hopeless marriage in San Francisco. The journals, which seem to tell the story of Heshel’s life, are so harrowing, so riveting, so passionate, and so perplexing that Michael becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about his father.
As Michael struggles to come to grips with his father’s elusive past, a world of complex and disturbing possibilities opens up to him–a world in which an accomplice to genocide may have turned into a virtuous Jew and a young man cannot recall murdering the person he loves most; a world in which truth is fiction and fiction is truth and one man’s terrible–or triumphant–transformation calls history itself into question. Michael must then solve the biggest riddle of all: Who am I?
Intense, vivid, funny, and entirely original, Not Me is an unsparing and unforgettable examination of faith, history, identity, and love.
2012-07-10 11:10:12 GMT 2012-07-19 12:00:00 (GMT -05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed 0 0 0 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 10 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
• Audio files must be delivered by regular mail
The last person in the world I wanted to know about was my father. I did not want to know if he had lovers. I did not want to know if he took diuretics. I certainly did not want to know if he liked to masturbate or if, even occasionally, he fantasized about teenage boys. It was of absolutely no interest to me if he cheated at bridge, or if his secret ambition was to become a ballet dancer, or if he had an obsession with women's shoes, or if he washed his body with lemon, or if he hit my mother (especially, god forbid, if she liked it). So when I was presented with twenty-four volumes of journals, each bound with a rubber band so old it was as brittle as the leather cover it held together, and was told "These are your father's, take them," I was less than enthusiastic. Especially since it was my father who gave them to me.
"These are your father's, " he said, "take them."
"Dad," I said, "You are my father."
He looked at me quizzically. His eyes were like aspic. Cloudy. Beneath which something obscure, unappetizing.
"Where's Karen?' he said.
"Karen is dead," I reminded him.
"That's not true," he said, "She was just here. I was speaking to her. Take these."
With his feet, he pushed the box of journals towards my chair.
"Alright," I said, "I'll take them. But I won't read them."
Then he turned away, and looked out the window.
"I'm waiting for Frau Hellman," he said.
"OK, Dad," I said. I had no idea who Frau Hellman was. Maybe someone from his childhood, or maybe his name for the lady who washed him.
After a little while I realized he had forgotten I was in the room. The space between us seemed to grow as if I were standing on a dock, and he were sailing away on the Queen Mary. I say the Queen Mary because he once actually did sail away on her, and I really was left behind, waving. Still, it was unthinkable that I would have a troubled relationship with my father. If I was not the perfect son, he was certainly the perfect father.
I reminded myself of that as I sat there looking at him drooling, his head lolling back like a toddler's asleep in his car seat.
"He's doing just great, isn't he?" the station nurse said. "We just love him!"
I held out the box to her. "Where did he get these? They weren't in his room before."
"I don't know. I think someone brought them."
"Who brought them?"
"He has so many visitors."
"You know how popular he is!"
Actually, I didn't know he knew anybody. I thought everybody he knew was dead. I thanked Nurse Clara -- her name was emblazoned on her ample, nurturing breast -- and walked out into the brutal Florida heat. The car was only a few steps away, but I might as well have been crossing the Amazon River. By the time I got there, my shirt was soaked, and my legs were sticking together. I turned on the air conditioning in the Caddy, but had to wait outside for the temperature to drop -- the car was an oven. In my arms was the box of journals. They weighed me down painfully. Finally I sank into the plush leather seat and let the frigid jets cool my face, my underarms. I tugged my shirt away from my body to let the air caress my stomach with its icy fingers. I sighed in relief. I put the shift in reverse, and pulled out of the spot. It's amazing how long a Caddy will last, particularly if you never drive it. Dad bought his in '78. I looked down at the odometer. It had twenty-two thousand miles on it. And I had to admit it was comfortable, bobbing down the road on those marshmallow shocks, riding on tires of Jello. Like the kiddy-car rides he used to take me on before I graduated to the bumper cars and roller coasters. I recalled how I used to be embarrassed being seen in it, especially when my dad drove twenty miles an hour in a forty mile zone. But not anymore. His Caddy was now the coolest thing going, only he would never know it. As far as he was concerned we still had the 1952 Studebaker. If he kept regressing on schedule, in another couple of weeks he'd be curled up with a bottle in the back of his father's '23 Daimler.
I pulled out of the parking lot and turned onto Military Trail. All the roads in West Palm Beach County look the same. Six lanes. No curves. Fast food. And every few feet the entrance to some development. The Lakes. The Bonaventure. The Greens. Everything had a The in it. They liked the word The. They also liked the word at. The Villages at The Palms. The Fairways at The Willows. I turned left at The Turn at Lake Worth Avenue.
The box of journals was sitting there beside me, sort of the way Mom used to sit next to Dad, waiting for an accident to happen. But unlike her, they smelled bad -- musty and moldy, decayed. Well, maybe she smelled that way now, too, I thought. But I shook that away. I didn't know why my mind let such thoughts sneak in. I hated when that happened. But it was just part of being a comic. You always think funny. For instance, the box they were in -- I noticed it was a Cheese Whiz box. This made me laugh. This is what Father chose to contain his life's writings? I also noticed the logo was different than it was now. So it was a really old box. He'd been working at this a long, long time. Saving this stuff up, just for this moment. His patrimony. Since he had no money, maybe he thought I could get it published or something. Why would he think that? He ran a wallpaper store all his life. Who would want to read about that?
I was jolted suddenly, by someone honking the horn. I looked up and the guy passed me, making a fist. I glanced down at the speedometer. I was doing twenty in a forty mile zone. For some reason this did not strike me as funny -- and I stepped on the gas.
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