Jonny Levin, an English Literature professor on sabbatical from an unnamed university in Chicago, is in Copenhagen to write a novel. He's adopted the name "Jonny" instead of John, hoping that the shortening of the name will launch him into adventures in Denmark that will open up his life. He meets a young Lithuanian tour guide in Copenhagen whom he suspects is really a prostitute. They introduce the reader to an intriguing modern Lolita-like duo operating in the shadow of Jonny Levin's obsession with the Holocaust. He is haunted by the image of a Lithuanian “partisan” who was an executioner of Jews and he wants to go to Lithuania to hunt him down.

Filled with a cast of fascinating characters including Leda, the beautiful, young Lithuanian tour guide, Mooney Levine, a comic-womanizing, New York gambler, and Madame Josefina, an ancient Jewish Mother Theresa in Copenhagen from Jerusalem to hold séances at Tivoli, Copenhagen's lovely amusement park.

Komie's characters whirl as vividly as the hand carved figures on Tivoli's famous carousel. Hans Christian Andersen, Jenny Lind, Isak Dinesen, Henrik Ibsen and Isaac Bashevis Singer all make cameo appearances at Madame Josefina's séances in wildly, magical-comic scenes.

Included with the novella are five Komie stories. A Woman in Warsaw (Chicago Tribune Magazine), A Woman in Prague (Chicago Tribune Magazine), Lederhosen Boys (Milwaukee Journal Magazine), A Commuters' Notes II (CBA Record) and The Messenger (previously unpublished). Also included is a copy of The Jager Report, a report of an SS Colonel listing the daily executions of Jews in Lithuania during the Holocaust, city by city.

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“Komie’s work is rich in the traditional storytelling of Isaac Singer; sometimes rollicking in the humor and passion of Philip Roth; with prose running as clear as Hemingway; with background voices tangled at times in Kafkaesque conundrums. But he is pure Komie. Read an opening sentence or two from any one of his stories and he is impossible to put down.”

Norbert Blei, After Hours

Reviews of earlier collections
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