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BOOK REVIEW: The Rent Collector by B. Glen Rotchin


Publisher’s Synopsis:
“The fashion business meets Kabbalah in Montreal’s garment district.

In a novel that does for Chabanel Street what Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz did for St. Urbain Street, a 36-year-old Orthodox Jew, Gershon Stein, collects rent in a large industrial building in the heart of Montreal’s needletrade. Meanwhile, he struggles to reconcile his relationship with his ailing Holocaust-survivor father, find balance in his family life, and match wits with his arch-nemesis, Joey Putkin, an Israeli leather coat manufacturer leasing the basement of his building.

Gershon’s days are occupied by an array of colourful tenants: Arnie Free, who makes footwear for Hasidic Jews and strippers; Sonny Lipsey, whose shtick is giving industry characters the perfect nicknames; and the delicate Michelle Labelle, whose face seems to emit a mysterious light. If there is one thing Gershon knows, it’s that life is rented and everyone has a debt to pay: to their landlord, their family, their community, and, most of all, to their soul.”

I fully intended to write a review about this exceptional debut novel (named as a finalist for the prestigious in Canada First Novel Award); however, after pondering The Rent Collector for many weeks, and reading several amazing reviews, I realized that anything I say will be lifted from one of those reviews. Instead, I’m providing links to several of the reviews and will allow the reviewers to speak for themselves.

Do yourself a favour, run out and buy this book!

Between God and schmatte – review by Brett Hooton at

Review: The Rent Collector – review by Charles Demers at Seven Oaks Magazine
– Demers’ interview with B. Glen Rochin

Review by Kristine Kowalchuk at Montreal Review of Books (mRb), a publication of the Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec

ISBN10: 1550651951
ISBN13: 9781550651959

Trade Paperback
228 Pages
Publisher: Esplanade Books
Publication Date: April 1, 2006

Véhicule Press – Celebrating Literature

About Véhicule Press:
For over thirty years Véhicule Press has been publishing prize-winning books: poetry, fiction, social history, Quebec Studies, Jewish studies, jazz history, and restaurant guides. Esplanade Books is the fiction imprint of Véhicule Press. Esplanade publishes novels and short story collections–books that fall between the cracks, works of unusual structure and form, short sharp monologues.


posted under fiction, small press
One Comment to

“BOOK REVIEW: The Rent Collector by B. Glen Rotchin”

  1. On April 26th, 2007 at 11:12 am Anonymous Says:

    Dear Janelle,

    Thanks for the notice. I really appreciate it.

    B. Glen Rotchin, Montreal

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