Our protagonist is Artie Shamash. The story explores his conflicted persona. How did that persona, his role identity develop? What is the mechanism involved that shapes each of us? The novel seeks to understand by through Artie Shamash’s life. On its face, the book’s a study of a man born into a world of secular Judaism and its assimilationist trend in America; we see the stress this creates. On another level, the theme is more universal, how each of our identities, our roles such as Christian, Jew, Muslim, American, Russian, German, etc., are nurtured. The novel spins counter-clockwise. It opens with Artie Shamash as the mature-conflict driven adult before examining, in episodic fashion, the subtle and not-so-subtle influences that shaped this alienated soul. Roles we play in life are not internal to the individual. They are fostered upon us by those around us. Are we really free or subject to external influences that mold us into something other than we are? That is a question.