Melman, Peter Charles 1971–

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Melman, Peter Charles 1971–

PERSONAL:

Born 1971, in NY; married; wife's name Elena. Education: Tufts University, B.A., 1993; University of Louisiana-Lafayette, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Brooklyn, NY. Office—Department of English and Theatre Arts, Hunter College High School, 71 E. 94th St., New York, NY 10128. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer. Podebrady, Czech Republic, English teacher, 1993-95; Zagat Restaurant Survey, New York, NY, restaurant critic and editorial assistant, 1995; Barnes & Noble, Lafayette, LA, clerk, 1996; Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA, clerk, 2001; BookCourt, Brooklyn, NY, clerk, 2002; Hunter College High School, New York, NY, teacher, 2002—.

WRITINGS:

Landsman: A Novel, Counterpoint Press (New York, NY), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS:

Elias Abrams, the Jewish protagonist of Peter Charles Melman's Landsman: A Novel, is a petty criminal from New Orleans who enlists in the Confederate Army during the Civil War to evade a murder rap. War, he soon discovers, is even more brutal than the rough streets of his home town. Elias endures battles, capture, and torture, buoyed by his exchange of letters with Nora Bloom, a seventeen-year-old Southern girl whose initial letter comes to him at random when she acts on her rabbi's suggestion that she write to Confederate troops to boost their spirits. Elias, coarse and uneducated, comes to idealize Nora, and she inspires him to aim for a nobler life than that of a small-time gangster. Steven G. Kellman, writing in the Jewish Ledger, called Landsman a "wrenching coming-of-age drama set in an uncommonly dramatic age," and praised the novel's complexity and depth, noting that Elias's "harrowing" experiences of war earn him "a place in the human community." While Jewish Literary Review contributor Steve Pollak felt that Landsman sometimes suffered from "florid" prose and cliched dialogue, he nevertheless considered the book a "commendable" first novel. A Publishers Weekly reviewer expressed similar praise, describing the novel as a "solid debut" that provides a "colorful" portrait of Civil War-era New Orleans.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Library Journal, May 15, 2007, Molly Abramowitz, review of Landsman: A Novel, p. 81.

Publishers Weekly, January 22, 2007, Lauren Joyce, review of Landsman, p. 64; February 19, 2007, review of Landsman, p. 144.

ONLINE

Jewish Ledger,http://www.jewishledger.com/ (October 1, 2007), Steven G. Kellman, review of Landsman.

Jewish Literary Review,http://www.jewishliteraryreview.com/ (October 1, 2007), Steve Pollak, review of Landsman.

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Melman, Peter Charles 1971–

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