A novel of man's inhumanity to man and a brilliant study of everyday anti-semitism at work in society, "Focus" is set in Brooklyn in the last years of World War II. The book is reissued to coincide with the release of a movie version.
A novel of man's inhumanity to man and a brilliant study of everyday anti-semitism at work in society, FOCUS is set in Brooklyn in the last years of World War 2. It is the story of Lawrence Newman, office worker and ordinary anti-semite, who suddenly is mistaken for a Jew when he begins to wear glasses. The change in his appearance leads inevitably to him experiencing the bigotry of the neighbours he'd been friendly with before; and in due course he finds support and understanding with one of the very Jewish immigrants he had previously so despised. This highly allegorical novel, possibly the first in American literature to deal directly with anti-semitism, is narrated with Miller's customary eloquence, and incorporates a cleverty-fashioned subplot concerning Newman's marriage to a woman whom he once refused to employ. This edition includes a preface entitled 'The Face in the Mirror: Anti-Semitism Then and Now', in which Miller writes: 'Focus is much involved with impersonations. Its central image is the turning lens of the mind of an anti-Semitic man forced by his circumstances to see anew his own relationships to the Jew.' This novel explores the consequences which unravel once Lawrence Newman, a man of English descent, begins to resemble the Jews he so hates as a result of wearing glasses. FOCUS is a much-needed and sobering lecture on humans' ability to discriminate merely on the basis of outward appearance: Newman is attacked relentlessly, despite not truly being a Jew.
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