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Morley Torgov.

Toronto, Lester & Orpen Dennys, c1982.
186pp, cloth, $14.95.
ISBN 0-919630-29-4.

Grades 9 and up.
Reviewed by Ryma Kolodny.

Volume 10 Number 4.
1982 November.

Morley Torgov's second novel, The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick, continues the tradition of wit, humour, and style which the reader has come to expect of this Leacock Award winner. With unerring but subtle accuracy, Torgov focuses on all that is comical and hypocritical about people and their relationships. But he also applauds all that is vulnerable and human.

Maximilian Glick arrives home on his eighth birthday to find himself the possessor of a piano and the inevitable lessons that make up the package deal. The next day his rabbi tells him not to despair, that, "Sometimes God has a habit of dropping pianos on us. But other times. . .other times He parts the waters of the Red Sea." The next three years seem to be a deluge of pianos for Maximilian, as his parents' worrying reaches monumental proportions, he is touched by adult prejudice, and hit beloved rabbi is killed in an accident. The downpour culminates in the appearance of a baby grand in the person of Kalman Teitelman, an ultra-orthodox rabbi sent, through a clerical error, to this northern Ontario town.

The waters do part occasionally for Maximilian, as he establishes a close relationship with his music teacher and eventually with the new rabbi. Maximilian discovers that the rabbi and he have a common dream, to be a Somebody. In the rabbi's case, it happens to be a stand-up comedian, an ambition which almost destroys the delicate balance among the various religious, ethnic, and social elements of the town.

The book is delightfully humorous, a treasure trove of gently satirical insights into cultural stereotyping and human foibles. The only disappointment is that the novel ends all too quickly.

Ryma Kolodny, Mount Royal Catholic H. S., Montreal, QB.
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