Menu JTA Search

Seattle-bred Jew Writes Novel on His City; Library Spurns It

Although it was written by a Seattle-bred man and in thinly disguised fictional form contains many hitherto unrevealed facts about the background and personalities of this city’s residents of an earlier generation, “The Last Pioneers,” Melvin P. Levy’s most recent book, is not on the shelves of the Seattle Public Library.

“Mr. Levy’s book was judged not absolutely necessary for our collection,” says Miss Sarah Virginia Lewis, the library’s superintendent of circulation. “Not that it was excluded—it simply was not included on our list of new books to be purchased.”

The book’s setting is in the mythical town of Puget. Its central character is a Jew Chaim Shemanski, Galician-born son of a shoemaker, who comes to Puget under the name of Herman Merro, adopted from a Vladivostok bartender who saved him from the Czar’s army, which he had deserted.

One of Seattle’s leading Jewish residents is Alfred Shemanski.

Merro’s story is interwoven with that of Paul Dexter, the town’s banker, street railway magnate and real estate operator.

Seattle’s principal bank was founded by Dexter Horton, a non-Jew.

There are many other equally apparent indications that the book is founded on fact rather than fiction.

The author, who at the age of thirty-two, has written three books and a play and who is now in New York, writes:

“If anyone wonders who Herman Merro or any other of the characters in ‘The Last Pioneer’ is, I can answer that—nobody. Or rather, I hope, the essence of very many people, people who might have lived in Puget. I hope readers will remember that my book is fiction.”

NEXT STORY