paper • 5 x 7 1/2” • 296 pages
A Classic of Canadian Jewish Literature Back in Print
About The Rich Man
This new edition of a classic Canadian Jewish novel tells the story of Jacob Grossman, a middle-aged immigrant tailor who travels from Toronto to pre-World War II Europe. The novel’s action opens in 1935, with a striking portrait of Toronto’s working-class Spadina Avenue district. Kreisel’s narrative leap of genius is his depiction of Grossman’s decision to return to reacquaint himself with his family in Vienna. Wearing a new white suit, an extravagance bought especially for the trip, he is mistaken for a rich man, and the charade he undertakes to maintain this image complicates an already difficult visit. Grossman finds Vienna transformed by the rise of Nazism and the slow, inexorable deterioration of Austria’s prominent Jewish community. Kreisel’s insights into the forces that would lead the world to war are uniquely revealing. His portrait of prewar Jewish life in Europe and Canada helps us better understand the oncoming Holocaust. Henry Kreisel’s The Rich Man was among the first books by a Jewish writer on Jewish themes to be published in Canada.
About Henry Kreisel
From prisoner in an Allied internment camp on Canadian soil to Officer of the Order of Canada, Henry Kreisel (1922–91) wrote from a depth of experience. Born in Vienna, he fled the Anschluss, only to be imprisoned by the British as an “enemy alien” and shipped to Canada. Despite this, Dr. Kreisel completed his education and rose in the ranks of the University of Alberta, joining the Faculty of Arts in 1947 and becoming the Chair of English (1961–67) and Comparative Literature (1967–87). From 1970–75 he also served as the University of Alberta’s Vice-President (Academic). A highly respected teacher, scholar and novelist, he received the Order of Canada in 1988 for his contributions to Canadian literature. With a new introduction by series editor Norman Ravvin.