PERSONAL: Born in Newark, NJ; married; wife's name Gayle.
Not Me (novel), Random House (New York, NY), 2005.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A second novel based in Moscow.
SIDELIGHTS: In his debut novel, Not Me, Michael Lavigne tells the story of failed stand-up comedian Michael Rosenheim and his father, Heshel Rosenheim, who survived a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. While visiting his dying father in a nursing home, Michael finds a large group of notebooks belonging to his father. Michael starts reading them and discovers a story of a Nazi concentration camp officer named Heinrich Mueller. The story is upsetting, and Michael begins to have doubts about its true meaning. With a failing career and marriage, Michael is unprepared to face his disturbing suspicion that the papers may not be part of a novel that his father long claimed to be working on but rather his father's own journals about his original identity as Mueller. As he reads, Michael begins to recall episodes from his own past that may shed light on the truth. Meanwhile, his father appears to fend off questions about his past as he slowly becomes delusional.
Patricia Kimball, writing in the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California, noted that Not Me is "well-structured and suspenseful, moving from subplot to subplot and character to character with some neat tieins." Kimball added, "In his examination of identity, Lavigne raises issues ranging from adoption to Zionism, euthanasia to ennui." A Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that Lavigne's novel is "crisply written and never less than engaging." Sarah Conrad Weisman, writing in the Library Journal, especially pointed out that "the story of Heshel's/Heinrich's war years is captivating."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of Not Me, p. 937.
Library Journal, September 1, 2005, Sarah Conrad Weisman, review of Not Me, p. 131.
Publishers Weekly, July 25, 2005, review of Not Me, p. 38.
Jewish News Weekly of Northern California Online, http://www.jewishsf.com/ (November 4, 2005), Patricia Kimball, review of Not Me.