What would you do if you had made a mess of your life and suddenly got a chance to start over again?
By an ironic twist of fate, Frank Oliviero, an unfaithful husband and shady jewel dealer, isn’t in his office, where he was supposed to be, in the World Trade Center when the Twin Towers are destroyed. Impulsively, rather than face a messy divorce and financial and legal complications, he decides to remain officially dead and start his life over again from zero.
Still grieving for the thousands of victims of the disaster from which he was unaccountably spared, he now has to cope with the consequences of his presumed demise: separation from his daughters, his parents, and his siblings, and the challenge of becoming a better man in a new country. He presents his life story in a document addressed to someone whose identity gradually becomes clear as the novel unfolds.
Jeffrey M. Green was born and raised in New York City and attended the Little Red School House, a progressive school in Greenwich Village. He graduated from Princeton, summa cum laude, in French, spent a year at the University of Poitiers as a Fulbright scholar, and then earned a doctorate in Comparative Literature at Harvard. In 1973 he moved to Jerusalem with his wife and their daughter, and he has been living there since then. Until 1979 he held various jobs, including a three-year stint teaching in the English department of the Hebrew University, until he became a freelance translator from Hebrew and French. During his long career he translated a dozen novels by the distinguished Israeli author, Aharon Appelfeld, other fiction, and many academic books published by major university presses. He has written two books in Hebrew, a book on translation published by the University of Georgia Press, as well as fiction, poetry, essays, and innumerable book reviews. He became obsessed with the subject of the present novel, the story of a man who was thought to have died in the attack on the World Trade Center, and worked on it for more than ten years, until he finally discovered the right way to tell that story.