The disgraced Usurer Yankel D took the baby girl home that evening… He made a bed of crumpled newspaper in a deep baking pan and gently tucked it in the oven, so that she wouldn’t be disturbed by the noise of the small falls outside… When he pulled her out to feed her or just hold her, her body was tattooed with the newsprint… Sometimes he would rock her to sleep in his arms, and read her left to right, and know everything he needed to know about the world. If it wasn’t written on her, it wasn’t important to him.

I finally made friends with my father when I entered my twenties. We had so little in common when I was a boy, and I am certain I had been a disappointment to him. He did not ask for a child with a book of its own world. He wanted a son who did what he had done: swam and boxed and played rugby, and drove cars at speed with abandon and joy, but that was not what he had wound up with.

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