South African born and raised Jewish-Canadian writer Kenneth Bonert's debut novel The Lion Seeker, which Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing today, is both a coming of age and an immigration story. In my New York Journal of Books review I write: "Most of Kenneth Bonert’s suspenseful, entertaining, and thought provoking epic debut novel—which follows the Helger family from turn of the century violent pogroms in Lithuania to immigration to South Africa in the early 1920s—focuses on Isaac’s adolescence and young adulthood in 1930s and 40s Johannesburg."
In that review I also describe Isaac as a "not always an admirable or even likeable fellow." Imagine Mordecai Richler's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz set in the racially charged atmosphere of 1930s Johannesburg instead of 1950s Montreal, though analogies with other novels apply only in part.
In part because of Isaac's and other Jewish characters' moral complexity, in my NYJB review I recommend the book "to Jewish and philo-Semitic readers who enjoy family sagas, coming of age tales, long epic novels, and learning about a Jewish community with whom they might not be well acquainted." Anti-Semitic readers might see the characters' ethical shortcomings as confirmation of anti-Jewish stereotypes, but if writers worried about that their characters would not be as fully developed as those in The Lion Seeker. For a fuller discussion of the novel see my NYJB review.