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The Rope of Life: A Memoir

Adult; Memoir; (Market)

At the heart of this book is the mystery of Mirinda’s father, Hugo Kossoff, a New York Jew from an intellectual, cultured family who, after his service in WWII, settled in Danville VA, a town that proudly billed itself the “Last Capital of the Confederacy” and was a place as anti-Semitic as it was racist, though not overtly violent towards Jews. Hugo changed his name to Hugh, renounced his Judaism for Baptist fundamentalism, got a nose job and took on the trappings of a “good ol' boy,” affecting a drawl and chewing tobacco. He had a successful dental practice, but he was never fully accepted. In this memoir, the author traces her father’s life and its heavy impact on her own - to understand and then transcend the past. What caused him to turn away from his upbringing? Did he come to regret his choices and his marriage to a Southern Baptist woman nine years his senior? Hugh bore no animus towards blacks and often treated them for free but he did not take part in the civil rights movement that roiled Danville in the 1960s. What sent him into a downward spiral ending in suicide at age 56?