Windsor, Ontario, is the setting for this mystical debut novel, a coming-of-age story about the lonely son of Holocaust survivors. Alexander's parents?a rabbi and his fearful wife, along with the cantor and his wife, who live next door, try to protect the young boy, raising him in a tangle of 'secrets and lies.' But he learns that his mother has a brother in a mental institution and that the cantor and his sister were part of Josef Mengele's 'medical' experiments on twins in Auschwitz. He tries to emulate his academic father and the grandfather he never knew by accumulating endless knowledge about the secrets of the universe. Alexander's small world is delightfully peopled by uncommon folk, and philosophical questions about the post-Holocaust world are probed through many of the boy's adventures.