Book/page totals

Top 10 Lists

Monday, February 19, 2007

This devilishly clever book traces the interlacing lives of two men, William Kane and Abel Rosnovski, who were born on the same day in 1906. One is the privileged son of an elite Boston family; the other, an orphaned peasant in an impoverished Polish village. William follows the trajectory expected of him, achieving high grades, earning academic awards, and winning a math scholarship to Harvard. He eventually becomes the chairman of a very influential East Coast bank. Abel’s early life, meanwhile, is spent enduring and finally escaping violence, oppression, and poverty. His homeland of Poland is overrun with German soldiers who destroy towns and lives, and send Abel to a prison camp where his most probable fate is death. With good fortune and hard work, he manages to flee to the United States and construct his own business empire.

A key encounter in the lives of the two men sparks an intense enmity between them, though they never knowingly meet. They spend the next several decades trying to bring vengeance on the other; the conclusion is surprising and sad.

While this is not great literature, the book is wholly worthwhile. The author depicts each man sympathetically and builds a good deal of suspense into the story. The writing is intelligent and spare; a terrific vacation read.

Title:Kane and Abel
Author:Jeffrey Archer
Date published:1979
Number of pages:579


Google Search