A Minnesota Ghost Story
The Shady Elders of Zion is a Minnesota ghost story. Ivan Kalinsky, the book's narrator, is the last surviving Bolshevik from the class of 1917. When Stalin started purging Jews from the Communist Party ranks in the 1930's, Kalinsky escaped to Northern Minnesota, where he lived out a long life as a union organizer.
Now dead, he's just about to happily ascend to heaven and reunite with his Bolshevik clan, when two pesky Hassidic ghosts, Singer and Himmelman, blackmail him into helping heal and redirect Joshua Bronstein. Bronstein is a damaged soul, and a candidate for the Lamed Vav, one of the thirty-six hidden righteous men from whom the messiah will be chosen when God decides it's time. And it becomes Kalinsky's charge to lead stubborn Bronstein out of his wilderness.
I didn't think the realm of the dead would be so funny!
As a Jew, I found this ghost story absolutely hilarious. But you don’t have to be Jewish to appreciate the creative storyline, delightful characters, and wonderful surprises in this novel. The level of my delight was wholly unexpected.
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This story of Jewish ghosts conspiring to heal and redirect a stubborn man who is a candidate to be chosen as the messiah is outrageous, wildly creative, and very funny. I haven’t had such a good time reading in a very long time.
Now dead, Ivan Kalinsky, the last surviving Bolshevik from the class of 1917, is ready to happily ascend to heaven when two pesky Hassidic ghosts blackmail him into a supernatural mission.