As fictional characters go, few embody such striking contradictions as cardsharp Elias Abrams: Jewish by birth, he joins the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Indeed, the question of duality runs deep through this novel — not only is Elias a Jew defending the right to oppress a people, but after he helps to commit a horrific crime, he finds himself unexpectedly overtaken by the power of love. Exploring themes of literature, redemption, atonement, and love, this novel delivers a startling dose of moral ambiguity, keen insights into the human condition, and unexpected moments that devastate with their casual simplicity.
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Peter Charles Melman was born in New York and raised in Louisiana. After receiving a B.A. in History from Tufts University, he taught abroad in the Czech Republic and ultimately earned his Ph.D. in English-Creative Writing from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2001. Following a post-doctoral year in Seattle, he returned to New York where he currently teaches English at Hunter College High School and lives with his wife in Brooklyn. Landsman is his first novel.