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Not Me

A Novel

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Paperback published by Random House Trade Paperbacks (Random House Publishing Group)

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About This Book
Not Me is a remarkable debut novel that tells the dramatic and surprising stories of two men–father and son–through sixty years of uncertain memory, distorted history, and assumed identity.

When Heshel Rosenheim, apparently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, hands his son, Michael, a box of moldy old journals, an amazing adventure begins–one that takes the reader from the concentration camps of Poland to an improbable love story during the battle for Palestine, from a cancer ward in New Jersey to a hopeless marriage in San Francisco. The journals, which seem to tell the story of Heshel’s life, are so harrowing, so riveting, so passionate, and so perplexing that Michael becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about his father.

As Michael struggles to come to grips with his father’s elusive past, a world of complex and disturbing possibilities opens up to him–a world in which an accomplice to genocide may have turned into a virtuous Jew and a young man cannot recall murdering the person he loves most; a world in which truth is fiction and fiction is truth and one man’s terrible–or triumphant–transformation calls history itself into question. Michael must then solve the biggest riddle of all: Who am I?

Intense, vivid, funny, and entirely original, Not Me is an unsparing and unforgettable examination of faith, history, identity, and love.


From the Hardcover edition.
Show less
Not Me is a remarkable debut novel that tells the dramatic and surprising stories of two men–father and son–through sixty years of uncertain memory, distorted history, and assumed identity.

When Heshel Rosenheim, apparently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, hands his son, Michael, a box of moldy old journals, an amazing adventure begins–one that takes the reader from the concentration camps of Poland to an improbable love story during the battle for Palestine, from a cancer ward in New Jersey to a hopeless marriage in San Francisco. The journals, which seem to tell the story of Heshel’s life, are so harrowing, so riveting, so passionate, and so perplexing that Michael becomes obsessed with discovering the truth about his father.

As Michael struggles to come to grips with his father’s elusive past, a world of complex and disturbing possibilities opens up to him–a world in which an accomplice to genocide may have turned into a virtuous Jew and a young man cannot recall murdering the person he loves most; a world in which truth is fiction and fiction is truth and one man’s terrible–or triumphant–transformation calls history itself into question. Michael must then solve the biggest riddle of all: Who am I?

Intense, vivid, funny, and entirely original, Not Me is an unsparing and unforgettable examination of faith, history, identity, and love.


From the Hardcover edition.
Product Details
Paperback (320 pages)
Published: February 13, 2007
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Imprint: Random House Trade Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780812973327
Other books byMichael Lavigne
  • The Wanting

    The Wanting
    A Novel
    From the author of Not Me, this powerful novel about an Israeli father and his daughter brings to life a rich canvas of events and unexpected change in the aftermath of a suicide bombing.   In the galvanizing opening of The Wanting, the celebrated Russian-born postmodern architect Roman Guttman is injured in a bus bombing, causing his life to swerve into instability and his perceptions to become heightened and disturbed as he embarks on an ill-advised journey into Palestinian territory. The account of Roman’s desert odyssey alternates with the vivacious, bittersweet diary of his thirteen-year-old daughter, Anyusha (who is on her own perilous path, of which Roman is ignorant), and the startlingly alive witnessings of Amir, the young Palestinian who pushed the button and is now damned to observe the havoc he has wrought from a shaky beyond.   Enriched by flashbacks to the alluringly sad tale of Anyusha’s mother, a famous Russian refusenik who died for her beliefs, The Wanting is a poignant study of the costs of extremism, but it is most satisfying as a story of characters enmeshed in their imperfect love for one another and for the heartbreakingly complex world in which that love is wrought.

    The Wanting

    The Wanting
    When his life perceptions are altered by injuries incurred during a suicide bus bombing, Russian architect Roman Guttman embarks on an ill-advised journey into Palestinian territory that is interspersed with diary entries by his searching 13-year-old daughter and the spirit of the suicide bomber, who agonizingly watches the havoc he has wrought. Simultaneous.

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