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Halbman Steals Home [Paperback]

B. Glen Rotchin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Feb. 18 2012

Haunted by the memories of his former home and life, Mort Halbman risks everything in a daring attempt at a last shot at redemption. Halbman is a crotchety, divorced, 65-year-old garment manufacturer, who laments losing the one true love of his life, the Montreal Expos. Now the dream home he built in the late 1960s in the exclusive Montreal suburb of Hampstead, where he lived with his family for 20 years, has burned down under mysterious circumstances, andMort finds himself the prime suspect in an arson investigation.

Meanwhile, his estranged gay son, Jacob, has announced that he's getting married and wants Mort to participate in the rabbi-officiated same-sex ceremony along with his ex-wife, Mona, and her insufferable boyfriend, Gordon, Canada's book reviewer extraordinaire. It's the last thing Mort wants to do. He feels compelled to continually return in his Jaguar to the burned-out ruin of his former home, and to the memories the place still holds for him. With pathos and humour, Halbman Steals Home tells the story of Mort's daring attempt to risk everything for a last shot at redemption.

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Product Description


"Rotchin's talents for character are on fine display in the darkly comical Mort Halbman. As impressively crafted as his debut novel, The Rent Collector, Rotchin's follow-up will entertain those searching for an uncomplicated, engaging read."

"Rotchin is adept at sketching character and creating convincing dialogue. [] Halbmans cronies, his children, his wife, his city are immediately recognizable and Rochin has an uncanny ability to draw us in with the clarity of his prose and charming narrative."

"Rotchin's latest novel, Halbman Steals Home, is one that any Jew with a sense of humour wont be able to put down."

"With skill and tenderness, Rotchin designs a world of characters so authentic, and carves a poetic tale rich with wit and pathos."

"Halbman Steals Home brings to mind Mordecai Richler's satirical portrayal of Jews."

Halbman makes for entertaining company and the book breezes along. Rotchins prose flow with a nice comic edge, his dialogue is crisp, his evocation of place unerring. This kind of writing, with its unassuming view into a very specific world, is too often undervalued.

"Sometimes home is not what we think it is, Rotchin tells us, and memory can become a way forward rather than an anchor to the past. These themes will resonate even for those who have never set foot in Montreal."

“…Halbman Steals Home is a thoroughly enjoyable read… The author is a master at describing so much of what makes Montreal such a compelling city in which to set a story… anyone who enjoys seeing much of hypocrisy in Jewish life made clver – and usually gentle fun, of, should get a kick out of this book.”

About the Author

B. Glen Rotchin has published fiction, poetry, essays, and book reviews. He has won two Canadian Jewish Book Awards for co-editing poetry anthologies, Jerusalem: An Anthology of Jewish Canadian Poetry (1997) and A Rich Garland: Poems for A.M. Klein (2000), while his debut novel, The Rent Collector, was a finalist in 2005 for the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Rotchin lives in Montreal.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant & entertaining. Dec 8 2013
The book is a mystery of sorts, but carries the reader along with humour & entertaining dialogue, rather than stressful tension. The protagonist, Halbman, is a wreck...a funny wreck trying in his own lost way to make a strange sense of his life. The interesting plot never lags. The book is also a love story for Montreal. You won't have to have lived there, but you'll appreciate the visit.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun and nostalgic read Aug. 31 2013
By Patti
A warm and humourous ride through the changes wrought in Montreal - the once glorious days of the Expos baseball team, the aftermath of a marriage break-up and the rebooting of a relationship with adult children. The book balances both a tender and acerbic tone, which makes the characters so human and relatable. I also bought this book for two men, who loved the Expos and enjoyed the references therein.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Root for Halbman Jan. 30 2013
In an attempt to make sense of his life and remember what he has lost, Mort returns again and again to the ruin of his former house. It's his compulsion to revisit the site, that makes him a suspect in an arson investigation!

We follow poor Mort as he tries to reconcile with the past and a present that includes baseball, gay marriage, orthodox Judaism and arson. The plot twists and turns with absurdity and humor...the age-old Jewish survival mechanism.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Halbman steals hearts Jan. 29 2013
This is the second novel by Rotchin that I have read and enjoyed. The novel is grounded in characters that are three-dimensional, realistically observed and creatures of their social environment, yet who are capable of surprising us in convincing ways. I find that novelists who have a passion for a city and who intertwine the lives of their characters with the fortunes of the places they live in make for good reading. Halbman is a fully realized character. he isn't by any means morally superior, and he has many faults, but he is not complacent. There is a quality of upward moral striving that I liked about him.The plot has pace and rhythm and humour in the right places. Rotchin's first novel, Rent, explored one area of Jewish Montreal. Halbman represents another area. Anyone who has read Mordecai Richler's books will surely feel his presence in Rotchin's novels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read! Jan. 28 2013
By Anna
I really enjoyed getting to know the main character Mort and about the quirky struggles in his relationships. Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. The book also provides great descriptions about Montreal and its once vibrant clothing trade.
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