Michael Lowenthal’s fourth novel, “The Paternity Test,” is a beautifully told story that brings myriad social issues to the forefront, and also manages to be a literary page-turner.
Lowenthal’s work is hard to categorize. His first book, “The Same Embrace,” told the story of identical twins, one of whom became gay while the other became an Orthodox Jew. “Avoidance” explored the cloistered worlds of the Amish and the protagonist’s long-ago summer boys’ camp. “Charity Girl” took up a little-known chapter of American history when women were incarcerated during the First World War in a government effort to contain venereal disease.
Versatility is a hallmark of Lowenthal’s work, as is the 43-year-old writer’s gift for language and depth of character. “The Paternity Test” gracefully merges gay marriage, Jewish identity, sexuality, the Holocaust, Jewish continuity and sexual fidelity in one story.