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in the house unamerican In the House
Un-American

by Ben Hollander

In the 1950s, a Puerto Rican Jew with roots in Leipzig and the Middle East lands in New York Harbor. So begins In the House Un-American, where Carlos ben Carlos Rossman, wannabe heir to the American poet William Carlos Williams and distant cousin of Kafka’s boy immigrant sensation Karl Rossman, is forever an absurdist stumble away from falling into a satirical wormhole.

In his wanderings among Americans and ”un-Americans,“ Carlos leads us through a mirage of genres and historical lenses—memoirist fictions, essayistic stories, fables, anti-communist scripts. He comes to the Coney Island boardwalk only to arrive in his own mind at the shores of the Mediterranean. As he journeys from the golden age of Spain to the Statue of Liberty among East Coast Jewish Buddhist pilgrims going West, Carlos reinvents the rest of us as he remakes himself. In a Mecca of his own making in the heart of America, Carlos offers a prophetic new vision reconciling Islam and the American.

In the House Un-American maps the continual transformation of where and who Carlos is and where America might someday arrive with him. Benjamin Hollander’s astonishing work is essential reading for our times, a mythical projection of who we could be, radical proof that “America was fable before it became fact.”

ISBN: 9781566569279 • paperback • $15.00 • 150 pages • b&w illustrations

excerpt

“Just Call Me Al” in the Brooklyn Rail