From the first page, the reader is thrust into the world of Nick Hoffman and his spouse, Stefan Borowski, a world which is suddenly turned upside down, into nothing for which their imaginations or their lives up until then could have possibly prepared them. Nick is a full professor at the State University of Michigan (SUM), and heads a departmental speaker’s program, a Fellowship in his name, endowed by a former straight-A student with the proviso that Nick be the sole administrator. Stefan is a best-selling author and the university’s writer-in-residence. They have lived together for over 20 years, until their former relatively quiet lives are disrupted when a SWAT team barges into their home one night, searches the house, and takes Stefan into the police station. Nick ponders how his and Stefan’s lives could have been upended in this way, “blithely unaware that disaster was about to tear apart my assumptions that life was solid and safe.”
In quick succession over the next several days, things only get worse, with threatening phone calls, at home and on campus, Nick being followed and harassed, someone breaking into their home, and his and Stefan’s positions at the university, where they have been teaching for 15 years, in jeopardy as well. The author so convincingly portrays their plight that I found myself in a state of heightened awareness during the few short days it took me to read this page-turner of a book.
It is amazing that this novel, written a few years ago, could portray so convincingly what has become “the new normal” in today’s world. He is told “people like you - - and me - - we’re not citizens anymore. We’re the enemy. And it’s only gonna get worse because the more ex-soldiers go into the police, the more regular cops think they are soldiers,” and that they were “privileged white men who had never been treated the way millions of less fortunate Americas were treated all the time. Academia made our lives even more remote from reality. It was just a shock being manhandled and brutalized; it was as if we had been radically ripped from our lives and dumped into an alternative reality.” They are at a total loss to identity the perpetrator/instigator of these acts.
Lev Raphael is the author of 24 books. His non-fiction works include “My Germany,” which I must admit is the only book by Mr. Raphael outside of the Nick Hoffman series (in which this is the 8th entry) which I have read, and which was equally wonderful. The book is highly recommended....Continua