Baldwin Street

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Bunim & Bannigan, 2007 - Fiction - 205 pages
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Leonard Abelson is one of seven children. He lives above Abelson's Hardware on Baldwin Street in Kensington Market in Toronto. It's the 1930s. Leonard's father, Sam, a former merchant sailor who speaks fourteen languages, does the purchasing for the store; his mother, Pearl, a Ukranian ?migr? who was a victim of pogroms and marauding Cossacks after WWI, runs the shop floor. Leonard wants to be a writer. He witnesses the affections, struggles, and meager hopes of his neighbors?fuel for his imagination. Periodically, Leonard has to look after a young philosophy professor from the University of Toronto, Menasha Rifkin, who suffers from fugue states, squatting among the stalls on Baldwin Street reading Spinoza, Kant, and the Globe & Mail. Halloween 1936. A band of young Italians invades Baldwin Street in search of blood. Marshall McDonald, the Irish cop who failed to quell the famous ?Wop? vs. ?Yid? riot at Christie Pits six years earlier, now must investigate the death of Bernie Altman, a young boy whose senseless slaughter lingers over the Jewish community like a bad dream. In the tradition of James T. Farrell's Studs Lonigan and Nelson Algren's Man with the Golden Arm, Alvin Rakoff's Baldwin Street is literary fiction at its best. This powerful novel presents a vivid mosaic of characters, the rich fabric of a community, and a boy's coming-of-age on the dusty, rough-and-tumble streets of Toronto.

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About the author (2007)

Alvin Rakoff is a film and television director, screen writer, and novelist. Former President of the Directors Guild of Great Britain, he has directed more than a hundred television dramas as well as a dozen feature films. He is the recipient of two International Emmy Awards and three Banff Film Festival awards, including Best Director and Best in Festival. His previous novel & Gillian (Little Brown) has been translated into ten languages. He was born and raised in Canada and is a graduate of the University of Toronto. He lives in London, England.

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