Synopses & Reviews
In his application to become the spiritual leader of the King Solomon Motorcycle Club, Norman Plummer recalls the momentous events that shaped his life during one sultry Los Angeles summer.
Set in 1963—after the Cuban Missile Crisis, but before JFK’s assassination—Norman begins to prepare Bel Air heiress Bayla Adler for a bat mitzvah she doesn’t want. The studious teenage son of a ne’er-do-well gambler, Norman finds himself in a strange new world of trophy wives, pool boys, and plastic surgeons—a world where anything might be bought, except the cooperation of the beautiful Bayla.
Under threat of nuclear war and the gorgeous California sun, the two forge a tentative truce. They may not be learning Hebrew, but through the miracle of motorcycles and the epiphanies of the road, Bayla and Norman just might learn to shape their own destinies. And—for a few momentous hours—become a latter-day Bonnie and Clyde searching for a Reverse Jewish Nose Job in the City of Angels.
In an unforgettable story of lost innocence and found passion—of love and motorcycles—readers will be rooting for this unlikely couple and their bid to change the world.
Allan Appel’s previous novels include Club Revelation; High Holiday Sutra, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection; and The Rabbi of Casino Boulevard, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. A California native and longtime New Yorker, he now lives in Connecticut, where he is a reporter for The New Haven Independent. Visit his website at www.allanappel.com.
"Appel (High Holiday Sutra) offers up another of his humorous takes on religion and spirituality, this one set in 1963 Los Angeles. Norman Plummer, the 17-year-old scholarly son of a chronically out-of-pocket compulsive gambler, is hired to tutor spoiled, wealthy 16-year-old Bayla Adler for her belated bat mitzvah. Bayla is determined to refuse to be bat mitzvahed; she is also gorgeous and seductive. A rocky alliance that has little to do with Hebrew ensues, one that doesn't escape the attention of Bayla's parents. When Norman isn't scared away by his pupil's surly refusal to learn anything, he is rewarded with exorbitant cash tips, and Bayla's father promises her $20,000 if she goes through with the ceremony. But Bayla has other plans for both Norman and the money. Appel renders the relationships between Norman and each of his parents with heartbreaking intimacy, but the Adlers, including Bayla, are so superficial that their actions are unconvincing. In the end this bittersweet exploration of love from Norman's 17-year-old perspective love for Bayla, for his parents, for knowledge and for God leaves too much unresolved. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Fiction. In his application to become the spiritual leader of the King Solomon Motorcycle Club, Norman Plummer recalls the momentous events that shaped his life during one sultry Los Angeles summer. Set in 1963--after the Cuban Missile Crisis, but before JFK's assassination--Norman begins to prepare Bel Air heiress Bayla Adler for a bat mitzvah she doesn't want. The studious teenage son of a ne'er-do-well gambler, Norman finds himself in a strange new world of trophy wives, pool boys, and plastic surgeons--a world where anything might be bought, except the cooperation of the beautiful Bayla. In an unforgettable story of lost innocence and found passion--of love and motorcycles-readers will be rooting for this unlikely couple and their bid to change the world.
A full-throttle joyride on the highway of love, adolescence, and enlightenment.
About the Author
Born in Chicago in 1946 and raised in Los Angeles, Allan Appel is a novelist, poet, and playwright whose books include Club Revelation, High Holiday Sutra, winner of a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, and The Rabbi of Casino Boulevard, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His writing has appeared in The National Jewish Monthly, The Progressive, and National Lampoon, and his plays have been produced in New York, Chicago, New Haven, and Provincetown. He has published a total of six novels, a biography, two collections of poetry, a book on botany, and A Portable Apocalypse, a handy anthology of erudite and humorous quotations about the end of the world. Among his plays, Dear Heartsey, a staged adaptation of the letters of a colonial New Yorker, Abigail Franks, was commissioned by the American Jewish Historical Society, and was presented, starring Anne Jackson and Eli Wallach, at the Jewish Museum in New York, and at Queens College, City University of New York, and at Yale University. In 2003, Flight, a play about the perils of patriotism, was presented in a staged reading by the New England Academy of Theatre in New Haven.