Linda Kass began her career as a magazine writer and correspondent for regional and national publications. Her work has previously appeared in TIME, The Detroit Free Press, Columbus Monthly, Full Grown People, The MacGuffin, Jewish Literary Journal, and Kenyon Review Online. Along with the upcoming, A Ritchie Boy (September 1, 2020), she is the author of the historical World War II novel Tasa’s Song (2016), which Publishers Weekly called “a memorable tale of unflinching courage in the face of war—and the power of love and beauty to flourish amid its horrors.”
BOOK OF THE MONTH
A Ritchie Boy: A Novel is Bookclubz' Book of the Month.
Use these discussion questions to guide your next meeting.
ABOUT THE BOOK
1938. Eli Stoff and his parents, Austrian Jews, escape to America just after Germany takes over their homeland. Within five years, Eli enlists in the US Army and, thanks to his understanding of the German language and culture, joins thousands of others like him who become known as Ritchie boys, young men who work undercover in Intelligence on the European front to help the Allies win World War II. In A Ritchie Boy, different characters tell interrelated stories that, together, form a cohesive narrative about the circumstances and people Eli encounters from Vienna to New York, from Ohio to Maryland to war-torn Europe, before he returns to the heartland of his new country to set down his roots.
Set during the dawn of World War II and the disruptive decade to follow, A Ritchie Boy is the poignant, compelling tale of one young immigrant's triumph over adversity as he journeys from Europe to America, and from boyhood to manhood.
THE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Why do you think the author told the novel in stories? What do the stories allow that a novel told in traditional form would not? Have you read other novels with this structure?
Eli and his parents were lucky to escape Austria. How else does luck play a role in this novel?
Did you know about the Ritchie Boys prior to reading this novel? If not, were you surprised to learn that there is still history about WWII that is not widely known?
A Ritchie Boy: A Novel
“Linda Kass’s eagerly anticipated second novel, A Ritchie Boy, is an engrossing, deeply moving story of the immigrant journey, a profound and timely reminder of how refugees have woven their strengths, talents, successes, and sacrifices into the fabric of America.”—Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times best-selling author of Resistance Women
"...[a] lovely novel in stories...Kass doesn’t shy away from the horrors of exile, anti-Semitism, genocide, and war. But she also presents a strong case for stubbornly opposing that darkness with tolerance, decency, friendship, love, and hope."—Historical Novels Review
“Told as a series of interconnected stories, Linda Kass’s captivating, based-in-truth novel A Ritchie Boy is about assimilation, hope, and perseverance.”––Foreword Reviews
Publishers Weekly Spotlight on Linda Kass, “Where Hope Comes From,” July 13, 2020: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/profiles/article/83806-where-hope-comes-from-spotlight-on-linda-kass.html
"My Fictional Family," essay in Columbus Monthly, August 2020 issue (link t/k Aug. 28): https://www.columbusmonthly.com/entertainmentlife/20200827/writer-linda-kass-fictional-family
Kass is the founder and owner of Gramercy Books, an independent bookstore in central Ohio. Learn more at www.lindakass.com.