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The Rent Collector [Paperback]

B. Rotchin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 10 2005
The fashion business meets Kabbalah in Montreal’s garment district.In a novel that does for Chabanel Street what Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz did for St. Urbain Street, a 36-year-old Orthodox Jew, Gershon Stein, collects rent in a large industrial building in the heart of Montreal’s needletrade. Meanwhile, he struggles to reconcile his relationship with his ailing Holocaust-survivor father, find balance in his family life, and match wits with his arch-nemesis, Joey Putkin, an Israeli leather coat manufacturer leasing the basement of his building.Gershon’s days are occupied by an array of colourful tenants: Arnie Free, who makes footwear for Hasidic Jews and strippers; Sonny Lipsey, whose shtick is giving industry characters the perfect nicknames; and the delicate Michelle Labelle, whose face seems to emit a mysterious light. If there is one thing Gershon knows, it’s that life is rented and everyone has a debt to pay: to their landlord, their family, their community, and, most of all, to their soul.

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"The Rent Collector is a stunning debut. I can safely say this, because I'm stunned that this is the first novel Rotchin has published--it seems too self-assured, too well-written, and too wise to be such a thing." —Paul Quarrington, author of Whale Music and Galveston

"This complex, sensitive and erudite story thrusts us into a series of historical, spiritual and religious grey areas.... Rotchin's warm, aphoristic voice... skilfully crafts moments of humour, wisdom and sensuality." —Hour (Montreal)

"B. Glen Rotchin... [uses] an old-fashioned realist approach to tell an insistently small story with utmost care. The result is a genuine pleasure, a first novel of insight and tenderness." —The Gazette

About the Author

B. Glen Rotchin has worked in the garment district of Montreal. His poetry and fiction have appeared in several literary journals, and he co-edited the poetry collections Jerusalem: An Anthology of Jewish Canadian Poetry and A Rich Garland: Poems for A.M. Klein.

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The best spun yarns are made from moral fibres April 19 2006
By A Customer
What a wonderful novel. Rotchin offers a convincing portrayal of an industry whose decline can be attributed as much to its own mercenary nature as a neverending flood of cheap foreign imports.
While the tenants of 99 Chabanel recklessly abandon their identities (their brands, their labels) for the sake of having just one more season, their rent collector- Gershon Stein- tenaciously holds onto his own.
The Rent Collector is a must read for those who suspect that "the attainment of an ideal is often the beginning of a disillusion" (Stanley Baldwin).
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Loved it - and I'm not even Jewish. March 31 2006
This novel hit me where it counts - my little universe and how I fit in it. I found myself constantly identifying with the angst and confusion felt by the central character, Gershon Stein. His relationships with his father, wife, children business clients and His Creator hit very close to home - and I'm not even Jewish. If you want to traverse a landscape of inner discovery, spend a few nights reading this book. You will be rewarded and you will find yourself looking at those dedicated men with their tzizes in a more understanding light.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An orthodox Philip Roth April 17 2006
This little gem of a book is full of surprises. It takes you away into the angst filled world of Gershon, the rent collector and building manager for a rag trade building in Montreal's garment district, with whom you come to share a love/hate relationship with the colourful community of tenants. Gershon's relationships and obsessions make him into an orthodox version of a Philip Roth character.
Rotchin's first novel is a great start for a promising new Canadian author.
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5.0 out of 5 stars tender and uplifting Feb. 10 2013
By Marilyn
An exciting debut novel exploring the human condition, using the Jewish rag trade universe to illuminate everyman’s needs and wants.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I have recommended it to my Rabbis and my friends July 27 2014
By judy - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
it isn't that the story is so interesting...but the comments on Jewish belief and Torah made me want to discuss it with others. There are things said in this book that gave me lots to think about it. I have recommended it to my Rabbis and my friends. I think an open minded Christian could learn a lot. Anti-Semitism is the result of ignorance...I think there is a lot to learn about and think about. It is not a fast read,but a thoughtful one.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous read! Jan. 30 2013
By AntiFaith - Published on
I enjoyed escaping into the day-to day workings of Montreal's garment district as depicted in The Rent Collector. Who knew it could be so cutthroat, stressful and fascinating? I empathized with the hapless rent collector, who finessed his job of collecting money from a motley assortment of customers into a kind of art. I read it compulsively from start to finish.
5.0 out of 5 stars SO IT'S COLLECTION TIME Jan. 30 2013
By Oscar Colman - Published on
2.0 out of 5 stars This was for my wife. I accidentally ordered her ... Aug. 7 2014
By Gerhard Friebe - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was for my wife. I accidentally ordered her the wron rent collector for her book club reading. I ordered the right one after, now she has two rent collectors.
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