Plucked from obscurity by reclusive Israeli poet Yoel Hoffman to join the International Writers Festival, Michael Rips was the surprise American in a lineup that included Jonathan Safran Foer, Nicole Krauss, Russell Banks and Paul Auster.
The suave urbanite and legal eagle who lives in Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel is no slouch. Despite being little known, he has had two books published by significant publishing houses (“Pasquale’s Nose: Adventures in a Small Italian Town” from Chatto & Windus in 2001 and “The Face of a Naked Lady: An Omaha Family Mystery” from Houghton Mifflin in 2005). But the latter of those passed without fanfare to paperback four years ago.
Crucially though Hoffman found Rips’s memoir of his father in the local Ma’alot public library and discovered for himself a kindred spirit. As he wrote in the preview for the festival in Haaretz: “When I reached page 37, I began to suspect that his [Rips’s] father was also my father.”