Jacob Paul, "Last Tower to Heaven"
Jacob Paul, Last Tower to Heaven
Saturday, September 28, 7pm
Days before his thirty-third birthday, Jacob Paul, an ordinary New Yorker, learns that his life is the dream of a man being slowly gassed in the back of a box truck headed from the Chelmno extermination camp to a mass grave in the Polish woods. And, thus begins a 500-page, 18-years-long, Quixotic, often comic, picaresque. J’s adventures lead him to Chase, his fellow traveler and love interest, and to Art, Chase’s husband, the evangelical governor of Mexico, who enlists J to build a new kind of Holocaust museum next to the Creationist Museum outside Cincinnati, a Holocaust museum that Art and his evangelical backers hope will finally show Jews as they really were. Yid World, which ends up being a Lithuanian-shtetl theme park, is obviously a failure, as, seemingly, are all of J’s attempts to connect to his awesome and awful legacy, until finally J embarks on one last epic attempt to build the means by which to confront his dreamer. Last Tower to Heaven grapples with what it means to derive agency and identity from collective trauma, with what it means to be at once a dream of the Holocaust and, yet, messily alive in our world. Ultimately, that struggle forces J to learn how to build a story out of love, for his love.
Jacob Paul is the author of two previous novels, A Song of Ilan (Jaded Ibis, 2015) and Sarah/Sara (Ig, 2010), which Poets & Writers named one of 2010’s five best first fictions. His collaborations have led to the fine art books, Home for an Hour (Otherwise, 2014) and Feed Mayonnaise to Tuna (Otherwise, 2016). His work has also appeared or is forthcoming in Hunger Mountain, Western Humanities Review, Green Mountains Review, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, Mountain Gazette and USA Today’s Weekend Magazine as well as on therumpus.net, fictionwritersreview.com and numerocinqmagazine.com. He teaches creative writing at High Point University in North Carolina