Dance with the Devil by Issur Danielovitch

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Dance with the Devil

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Moishe Neumann and his family are imprisoned by the Nazis in the concentration camp at San Sabba, Italy, during the last years of World War II. His entire family dies there. Believing that his Jewish heritage can only bring him pain and sorrow, Moishe assumes a non-Jewish identity from the moment American soldiers enter and liberate the camp. Adopted by a middle-aged schoolteacher who nurtures his love of films, Moishe, now Danny Dennison, hides his past. Eventually, he becomes a successful film director, marries a beautiful though emotionally impoverished heiress, and fathers a daughter whom he adores.

While casting a film in London, Danny meets Luba, a young woman who, with her mother, had escaped from Communist Poland. In contrast to Danny, who has created a fragile facade to hide his real self from the world, Luba meets life head-on. A call girl by necessity, Luba lives by her wits but feels no shame about the kind of existence she has been forced to lead. Her unabashed approach to life and generous compassion touch Danny deeply. Slowly and with ambivalence, Danny allows himself to become involved with her while, at the same time, the carefully woven fabric of his film- script life begins to unravel. Finally, Danny realizes that he must come to terms with his past and his heritage before he can rebuild his world on a more solid foundation and make a new and more complete life with Luba.

DANCE WITH THE DEVIL brings together the stories of two survivors in a world Kirk Douglas knows well: Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Through flashbacks, contrasting characters, and a well-constructed plot, the author succeeds in producing a story in which, in the end, Danny Dennison’s life really imitates art.