The Promise of the Pelican by Roy Hoffman
At once a literary crime novel and an intergenerational family drama, The Promise of the Pelican is set in the multicultural South, where justice might depend on the color of your skin and your immigration status. Hank Weinberg is a modern day Atticus Finch, recently retired as a defense attorney in Mobile, Alabama, and a Holocaust survivor, who fled the Nazis as a young child. With his daughter in rehab, he’s now taking care of his special needs grandson. Mourning his dead wife, spending mornings fishing on the pier with other octogenarians, he passes the rest of his days watching over his sweet grandson with the help of Lupita, a young Honduran babysitter. When her brother Julio, an undocumented immigrant, is accused of murder, Hank must return to the courtroom to defend him while also trying to save his daughter and grandson’s life from spinning out of control. The Promise of the Pelican takes its title from the legend that a pelican will pierce its own breast for blood to feed its starving chicks, a metaphor for one old man who risks all to save the vulnerable.
In a crisp prose style Harper Lee called “lean and clean,” Hoffman writes from an enormous well of compassion. He fills his new novel with a cast of finely drawn characters of all ages and abilities facing life’s harshest challenges and rising to meet them with dignity.
For fans of Harper Lee and Rita Mae Brown, Roy Hoffman’s new novel is steeped in a sense of place–coastal Alabama–with its rich tapestry of characters caught in a web of justice not for all.
Life is a series of conflicts for most individuals. Struggling against drug use is a rabbit hole difficult to get extricated from. Helping someone who has been stabbed can be a very dangerous undertaking. These are but a few of the trials these main characters face. Society and especially law enforcement espouse innocent until proven guilty. However, it is hard to prove innocence from inside a prison cell.
Escaping alcoholism is also very trying and at times a seemingly impossible endeavor. Family will be supportive for awhile but finally even the ones who love you abandon the quest to get you healed. This book explores some of these afflictions with painful clarity! Children are often caught in the middle, with grandparents or other family members taking up the mantle of guardianship.
The author helped me to realize that my own childhood was a cakewalk compared to some of the trials faced by others. Drug use is particularly egregious and there must be a way that society can educate the young to avoid this calamity at all costs. The problem is that some of the richest get their fortunes from this very malady. They are the ones that should face legal action and prison. Regrettably, they can afford the dealers and lawyers to keep their hands clean. I found myself trying to figure out the cure for this national affliction. Read and see if you agree. 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Jewish Literature, Southern United States Fiction, Southern Fiction
Publisher: Arcade Crimewise
Print Length: 297 pages
Publication Date: March 15, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: The Promise of the Pelican [Amazon]
Barnes and Noble
The Author: Roy Hoffman is author of the novels, “The Promise of the Pelican,” (2022), a literary crime novel of social justice in the Deep South, “Come Landfall,” a story of hurricanes and war, “Chicken Dreaming Corn,” endorsed by Harper Lee, about Romanian Jewish immigrants to the Deep South, and “Almost Family,” in a 35th Anniversary Edition, about a Black family and a Jewish family in Alabama. He’s author of two nonfiction books: “Back Home,” and “Alabama Afternoons.” A native of Mobile, Ala., Roy worked as a writer in New York for 20 years before returning south. He’s written for the New York Times, Wall St. Journal and Washington Post, covered features for the Mobile newspaper, and received the Lillian Smith Award in fiction and Clarence Cason Award in nonfiction. A graduate of Tulane, he teaches fiction and nonfiction in Spalding University’s Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing. http://www.royhoffmanwriter.com, @roybhoffman, http://www.facebook.com/royhoffmanwriter
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams