The Hand Before the Eye

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9780922811427: The Hand Before the Eye

Farbman is a hustling New York lawyer with a shiska wife and two kids, living beyond his financial and emotional means. Dunned by his creditors and distressed by an undiagnosed malaise of the soul, Farbman embodies the conflict between our altruistic impulse to help others and our selfish desire to elbow our way to the front of the line. The novel begins on Forty-Second Street in New York City. Farbman is on his way to an out-of-town funeral. He is rushing from a meeting with his unforgiving banker, to his chaotic office, to his parents' home, and then to the airport. Running late, Farbman considers canceling the trip, but doesn't. After the funeral, his lust for a fellow mourner leads him to an encounter with a mystic rabbi. The Hand Before the Eye is the often comic story of a contemporary man. With energetic and ironic prose, Donald Friedman take us into Farbman's world of law and medicine. Through Job-like suffering, Farbman gains enlightenment, learns the spiritual lessons of justice and healing. Finally , he understands that the good life offers us two true gifts: meaningful work and the love of another.

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

There were no sprouts at the salad bar in the local Schraft's knock-off where they'd stopped for lunch. Not even the glowing sulfite-sprayed greens of a fast food restaurant. Instead there were pickled beets from a can and crumbled bacon, white pork--with biscuit-dipping gravy--and mayonnaise-buried potatoes and macaroni. Everyone smoked. Everyone drank.

Farbman, who had made his decision for health a decade and a half earlier, eschewing alcohol and now, despite a nagging sense of hypocrisy at the money he earned from Bigonocco, meat, as well as the artificial, sugared, caffeinated, and carbonated, was frankly appalled, although he remained uncharacteristically silent. He communicated his distress only to Ann Marie, who'd been trained to hear the unspoken. With that particular New York provincialism that believes the Hudson marks the world's edge and that the rest of the universe shares its values, Farbman was as unmoored as a science fiction time traveler.

In addition to the endless handshaking, countless lawyer jokes, and continuous retelling of the polo story, Farbman endured potato sack races, horseshoe pitching, and a dance where he watched Ann Marie do the Swim and twist in her huge collar, to disco'd hits from the fifties.

Farbman considers how it was the essence of the Jewish experience to be an outsider, that the Jewish face had historically been pressed against the window of some gentile society. Of course, Farbman was also an outsider to the Jewish experience; if exclusion was the test, he was the Jews' Jew. He was estranged from his own time, from the land, from physical labor and, as Harold regularly pointed out in the steam, from his family, from love, sex, and meaningful work. That night, lying on his side in Ann Marie's childhood bedroom, Farbman observed his naked wife pad across the floor. He wondered at his indifference. If those curves belonged to a stranger, he'd be all over her. Then, recognizing that she as a stranger to him, he smiled at the irony.

She caught him looking at her and slid over to make rom. She lay on her back, chin up, eyes fixed on the ceiling, arms to her sides. As Farbman bestowed a soft kiss on her cheek, she went rigid. Her jaws clenched. The tendons in her neck stood out. Farbman saw tension in the muscles of her legs, in the flex of her toes. He caressed her, massaged her shoulders. Her arms. Her feet. When he thought she'd begun to relax, he pressed gently between her tightly joined knees. In a sudden, mechanical action she jerked her near leg closer to him, communicating by the gesture that he had produced no more than compliance.

Review:

A great debut. Donald Friedman has created a wonderful Bellowesque character in Farbman. There's a little Farbman in all of us, especially in the increasing number of lawyers who are desperate to escape from clients, courts, and confrontations. The Hand Before the Eye lays bare the legal system. I'm already waiting for Farbman II. -- Alan M. Dershowitz

A heartening story of an individual making a dramatic and successful transformation. -- Library Journal

An achingly accurate tale of how law is often practiced in the big city, the novel shows a legal system that neither helps nor heals--and yet has the capacity to do both. The Hand Before the Eye is, however, a story of deliverance and redemption. It is funny and sad, but at all times compelling and great reading. -- Raoul Lionel Felder

An utterly absorbing journey from the depths to a modern day 'second birth.' Skillfully and poetically rendered. -- Rabbi Herbert Weiner

Donald Friedman has written a charming, entertaining urban fable. He addresses with humor and compassion the malaise of the modern-day working stiff. -- Kaylie Jones

Donald Friedman makes art not for art's sake but for morality's sake, sending his characters on risky negotiations of both moral laws and worldly compulsions. Through their journey, he investigates the urgencies of love, and he wins our hearts as his characters seek to win one another's. -- Frederick Busch

Donald Friedman's The Hand Before the Eye is filled with comic furor and intelligent intensity. It suffuses the reader with passion and hope. -- Marissa Piesman

Donald Friedman's provocative novel is a timely reminder that it's never too late for atonement and transformation of one's life from the craziness engendered by a bottom line of money and power to an inner tranquility and harmony with nature. --Michael Lerner

Textured with a diversity of characters trapped in a crucible of relationships no more or less comic than the human condition itself, The Hand Before the Eye is a triumph of wit, ideas, and narrative invention. --Sidney Offit

The Hand Before the Eye has spirit, energy, and a lot of laughs. A wonderful book. --Robert Kotlowitz

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Friedman, Donald
Editorial: Mid-List Press
ISBN 10: 0922811423 ISBN 13: 9780922811427
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Donald Friedman
Editorial: Mid-List Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0922811423 ISBN 13: 9780922811427
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Descripción Mid-List Press, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. book. Nº de ref. de la librería M0922811423

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Friedman, Donald
Editorial: Mid-List Press (1999)
ISBN 10: 0922811423 ISBN 13: 9780922811427
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Descripción Mid-List Press, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: New. Never used!. Nº de ref. de la librería P110922811423

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Donald Friedman
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Descripción Mid List Pr, 1999. Hardcover. Estado de conservación: Brand New. 1st ed edition. 266 pages. 9.50x6.50x1.00 inches. In Stock. Nº de ref. de la librería 0922811423

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