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Reviewed by Amanda Rofe for Readers' Favorite
Confessions of an Honest Man by Arthur Rosch is a novel describing the life of Aaron Kantro and his rather dysfunctional family. Beginning in 1957 and spread over fifty years, it describes the often difficult and dark times for Aaron and his three siblings. Esther, their mother, is the center of the troubled family and she is periodically confined to a psychiatric hospital. Aaron discovers music and finds some respite from the endless family angst. At sixteen he flies the nest and goes in search of Avian Coulter, an avant-garde figure in the jazz world who introduces him to a very different lifestyle. Aaron Kantro becomes a jazz musician. On the road, in the swinging 60s, he finds himself playing gigs with a legendary black saxophonist, Zoot Prestige. In the meantime, his brother and two sisters are etching out their own escape.
Arthur Rosch transports readers to another time and place with a moving coming of age story that dives deep into the human condition. This is a haunting look at a family whose lives revolve around a mother with a dreadful history of childhood abuse. However difficult the issues presented in the book, there is a warmth which seeps out from the narrative. I felt great compassion and understanding for all the characters, even those who made painfully bad choices. This novel is jam-packed with just about everything from traumatic childhood experiences to hard drugs and war. Confessions of an Honest Man is funny, sad, quirky and sometimes shocking but overwhelmingly original and compelling.