A Gangster Grows in Brooklyn

Somehow I missed this when it appeared in November, but Purim seems as good a time as any to catch up on a book whose title character (sort of) is named “Shushan Cats.”

“The Iron Will of Shoeshine Cats” is a novel by Hesh Kestin (previously the European bureau chief for Forbes), which takes place in 1963 New York. The story’s narrator is Russell Newhouse, a 20-year-old orphan and feckless student at Brooklyn College who apprentices himself to Cats, a Jewish gangster of fearsome repute. As Emily St. John Mandel describes the book in The Millions:

Sounds like the perfect read to see me through a post-Purim recovery.

Read the whole review here, and Kestin’s ode to T.E. Lawrence’s “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” here.

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