Miami Herald Interview with Thane Rosenbaum on "How Sweet It Is!"

BY CONNIE OGLE, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thane Rosenbaum lives in New York now, but he remembers vividly the Miami Beach in which he grew up. Not the blingy SoBe of celebrity food festivals, gay pride parades and Art Basel. What Rosenbaum recalls is the once-glitzy, slowly crumbling Beach of Jackie Gleason, Meyer Lansky and Wolfie’s.

“I remember seeing Muhammad Ali running laps at Miami Beach High,” said Rosenbaum, who appears Saturday at Books & Books in Coral Gables. “People were always saying, ‘I saw Muhammad Ali running on Collins Avenue.’ Everybody had a Meyer Lansky story, a story where they had lunch with him or something. Everybody was casual about the Jewish Mafia.”

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Jewish Week: The Sun And Fun Capital Of The World?

04/01/2015, Diane Cole, Special To The Jewish Week

In his new novel, “How Sweet It Is!” (Mandel Vilar Press), Thane Rosenbaum rolls back the clock to 1972 and transports us to the less-than-sweet, unglamorous side of Miami Beach. Here, as in his previous works of fiction, Rosenbaum strives to balance moral seriousness with outrageous antic humor as he tries to make sense of what can never make sense: the Holocaust.

As in the musical “Cabaret,” there is a gregarious master of ceremonies at the center of the passing show. Here it is the entertainer Jackie Gleason, serving as our guide to the quirky characters who populate the town he highlighted on his weekly variety show in the 1960s. But by the time we meet him, he’s already in decline, a depressed and lonely clown bemoaning the loss of his former prestige. Instead of hosting a must-watch television variety show, he holds court as a patient at Mt. Sinai Hospital.

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