BOOKS: PICK OF THE WEEK

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The Independent Culture
Rachel Lichtenstein & Iain Sinclair Wed

Tardis Studios, London EC1

In 1969, a reclusive Jewish scholar left his room above a synagogue in east London; he was never seen again.

Eleven years later, the Mary Celeste-like room was opened for the first time since David Rodinsky's disappearance to reveal a mass of annotated books, cryptic writing in long-dead languages, and a well-thumbed A-Z showing strange journeys he'd made.

Rachel Lichtenstein (above, with co-writer Iain Sinclair) became intrigued by the Zelig-like character, variously described as very tall, very short, bearded, clean-shaven, a genius and a retard. Rodinsky's Room, which the writers will discuss at the Clerkenwell Literary Festival, is the story of Lichtenstein's quest for the real Rodinsky, a search which took her into own past, to Poland and Israel, and finally to a mental hospital in Surrey, where she completed Rodinsky's story.

Tardis Studios, 54 Turnmill St, London EC1 (0171-771 2000) Wed, 7pm, pounds 5

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