Born in Baltimore, MD.
The Baker: A Novel, Random House (New York, NY), 1997.
Mothers and Sons: A Novel, Random House (New York, NY), 2005.
Paul Hond is the author of The Baker: A Novel, which chronicles the life of Mickey Lerner, a middle-aged, Jewish baker who lives in Baltimore, Maryland, in the late 1960s. Mickey is going through the breakup of his marriage to French violinist Emi, who seems more devoted to her career than she is to their relationship. In addition, Mickey finds himself growing increasingly distant from his teenaged son, Ben. But Mickey's life is dramatically altered when his wife is fatally shot during a riot following the assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr. Mickey tries to overcome his grief by traveling to Paris, his wife's birthplace. Once there, he makes the acquaintance of another baker, one who inspires Mickey to resume his own career in baking. Meanwhile, Ben has been left in charge of the family's bakery in Baltimore. Among the youth's problems is the conduct of his best friend, the bakery's delivery driver, who has become involved with low-level criminals. Even Mickey's problems fail to neatly resolve themselves after he returns to Baltimore, for the city is still rife with racial tension in the wake of King's death.
Michael Lowenthal dubbed the novel a "highbrow potboiler" in his New York Times appraisal. A Publishers Weekly contributor declared that Hond delineates the racial and ethnic tensions in Mickey's community "with an emotional depth, lyricism and power that signal an auspicious debut."
Hond's second book is Mothers and Sons: A Novel. Twenty-seven-year-old Moss Messinger lives a sad, single life in New York, pestered by pigeons, unable to commit to his girlfriend, Danielle, dependent on his friends, and getting by writing restaurant reviews. He also misses his mother, Nina, who conceived him with a stranger, raised him until he was nineteen, and then left for Europe to play jazz piano, eventually marrying and moving to California. Friends include Boris, who became a millionaire with his LittleEinstein.com sperm bank. Boris tries to help Moss by offering him a review of an upscale new eatery and the use of his Maine retreat. But these attempts fail. Moss's abandonment by his mother prevents him from ever growing up, and her reappearance only further complicates his life. In reviewing the novel for the Library Journal, Joanna M. Burkhardt noted that the novel "is well crafted, and Hond convincingly captures the range of emotions encountered in everyday life."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Review, January 15, 2005, review of Mothers and Sons: A Novel, p. 74.
Library Journal, May 1, 2005, Joanna M. Burkhardt, review of Mothers and Sons, p. 74.
New York Times, May 10, 1998, Michael Lowenthal, review of The Baker: A Novel.
Publishers Weekly, January 26, 1998, review of The Baker, p. 67; February 21, 2005, review of Mothers and Sons, p. 156.
Washington Post, April 15, 2005, Carolyn See, review of Mothers and Sons, p. C3.