by Sheila Deeth
A wall separates Carl Barry from the people around him. It’s an invisible wall keeping the street’s grit and dirt on its other side, while revealing only the surface of the man. And it’s a wall that began in the hurts of World War II, in the peace of a private swimming place, and in the ceaseless death that hid behind gray smoke.
Larry Duberstein’s Five Bullets intertwines the stories of a young Jew from Prague and a successful but very private structural engineer in New York. But Karel Bondy and Carl Barry are the same, and passing years and pages reveal a story of tragedy and love, persistence and peril, all touched with truth to self and faithless hope.
Sweet romance, gentle humor, dialog that convinces completely, wonderful characters with space to grow from childhood to adulthood—though not all will be given the time—and a central tragedy like the elevator shaft of one of Carl’s unloved buildings; it all comes together in a tale that spans war, Holocaust, man’s cruelty to man, and the love that binds and unites us.
By the end of this novel, you too might look with damp eyes, wondering “if these were joyful tears for their love or tragic tears for all [you’ve] pretended not to know,” or maybe even tears for the randomness of it all.
Five Bullets brings to life the harrowing deaths of uncountable Jews, and the wounded futures of survivors. It holds loves and griefs of many kinds in glorious balance, makes history real, and allows the reader to see behind that wall, to the truth of true lives. It’s a truly wonderful read.
Disclosure: I was given a free copy and I offer my honest review.