In The Name Of God follows two years in a life of a teenage protagonist Aleksander (Alek) Brodski, and his mother, Zofia Brodski, a family of two, the only known Jewish family in town.
It takes place during the historically crucial years 1967-1969 in a small, isolated town in Eastern Europe, on the border with the Soviet Union and under its domination. The disgruntled populace is in the grips of a communist, totalitarian police state, where the lies become the truth and prevailing doctrine, bitterly evoking the ever-popular cliché: “Nothing good has ever come to us from the east.”
The fateful chain of events is precipitated by a violent confrontation, where Alek is attacked and thrashed on the street by a group of local thugs. The most serious in a string of previous incidents prompted Mrs. Brodski to intervene decisively. She visited the local police station and filed an official report with the chief of police, seeking justice. Stonewalling and denial followed, even more so, when one of the perpetrators was recognized as the chief’s own son. In the face of continued harassment, discrimination, senseless anti-Semitism, abject poverty, and hopelessness, mother and son decided to emigrate. First, they must secure visas and passports. Few trips to government offices, first to the capital Warsaw, and then district passport office, where they faced hostile communist bureaucracy, from the lowest-ranking clerks to the corrupt, zealous department manager.
Applications for passports and emigration were denied. Resigned to a cruel fate, in an attempt to assimilate, to be fully integrated and accepted in the community, they decided on the ultimate, desperate solution, the town’s Catholic Church. Father Antoni, the cunning parish priest, although seemingly helpful and understanding, was a shameless “money collector” and couldn’t take his eyes off attractive Mrs. Brodski. God only knows what was really on his mind. In the stunning conclusion, the final acts, however, turned out to be not what Aleksander and Zofia Brodski expected, and such is life…
The fluent narrative, at times dark and gloomy, at times truly hilarious, is supplemented by meticulously interwoven, simultaneous true historical events as they unfolded; the continued Vietnam War at its height, political turmoil in the country and abroad, widespread student protests in Europe and America, invasion of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact countries and assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy.