As printed on the back cover:
It begins with a miracle. In 1923, in a small town outside Warsaw, a Polish innkeeper with five daughters at last has a son. Strangely, Chaim Turkow is blond and blue-eyed, a Jew with Aryan features. As the child grows, the whole town learns of his genius, for Chaim's mind in insatiable, his memory flawless. But after a mysterious accident in a steam bath, the boy changes. His ways are odd, he barely speaks, and he cares only for his sketching.
Chaim Turkow is sixteen when the Nazis bring their awful whirlwind to Poland. His parents send him away, hoping his looks will save him. The boy finds work with a wealthy Pole; he lives in a pigsty; as a final protection, he feigns mute idiocy. But though the 'beautiful fool' has no voice, his visions remain clear, and the horror he sees drives him toward madness. Ultimately, it is his passion for memory, for bearing witness, that saves Chaim and revives his faith in the human spirit.
Lawrence Rudner's story recalls a world consumed by evil. Yet the story is written in the timeless language of folktales; it shimmers with warmth, humor, and great wisdom. This daring, deeply affecting novel introduces an astonishing new talent.