The Angel Max by Peter Glassgold
A Novel

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Synopsis

As a young child in polygolt Kovno, Max Petrovich Kraft had a clear vision of his own future and the wonderful adventures he was going to have in America. America! Where everyone spoke English, so that "no matter what anybody says or how anybody says it, everybody understands."

Who is Angel Max? Born in 1866, he is an orphan, raised by rich realitives, educated and enlightened Jews. As a boy, he becomes obsessed with English and James Cooper while his siblings get caught up in the anarchist/nihilist underground. He comes to America, to New York, and stays with realtives, not on the Lower East Side but in a townhouse on West 11th Street, just off Fifth Avenue. A sound marriage and equally sound business ventures, in real estate, make the American dream immediately come true-city and country homes, servants, carriages-and, above all, speaking English at all times. But there is the other side of the family-revolutionary stepsisters, a crazed, violent half brother, an anarchist cousin-mone other than "Red Emma" Goldman herself. They are in and out of his life, and Max becomes an "angel" for the anarchist cause, a little out of sympathy but more to keep them at a distance. This ambiguity is splendidly rendered in a richly inventive novel filled with memories of a time past, of lives lived and imagined in all seriousness and with empathy and humor.
 

About Peter Glassgold

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Author of The Angel Max and former editor at New Directions, Peter Glassgold is a noted translator (Dutch, Old English, etc) and a distinguished novelist. He lives in upstate New York.
 
Published May 1, 1998 by Harcourt Brace. 450 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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As civil war breaks out in Russia, the US begins deporting foreign radicals, and, in a close call, Max finally becomes not just a good fellow but one of the revolutionary “them.” A light fictional gloss on history, with a disappointingly heavy and melodramatic hand.

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