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David Arbus will be graduating from high school in the spring of 1975. His divorced parents offer two options: embrace his mother’s Hasidic sect or go into his father’s line of work, running a porn theater in the heart of New York’s Times Square. He joins the family business. What else would a healthy seventeen-year-old with an interest in photography do? But he didn’t think it would mean giving up his mother and sister altogether.
Peep Show is the bittersweet story of a young man torn between a mother trying to erase her past and a father struggling to maintain his dignity in a less-than-savory business. As David peeps through the spaces in the screen that divides the men and the women in Hasidic homes, we can’t help but think of his father’s Imperial Theatre, where other men are looking at other women through the peepholes.
As entertaining as it is moving, Peep Show looks at the elaborate ensembles, rituals, assumed names, and fierce loyalties of two secret worlds, stripping away the curtains of both.
- Algonquin Books, June 2010
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