Antiquities ~ by Cynthia Ozick

It’s April of 1949 and the seven remaining Trustees of the Temple Academy for Boys have been living at the old school in Westchester County, New York for the 34 years since it closed.  That is, since 1915. These alumni are very old men now, but they are, or were, distinguished gentlemen, lawyers and businessmen. Their new assignment is to write their school related memoirs (about 10 pages each) to combine into an “album of remembrance” which would be housed in a vault at J.P. Morgans. 

by Cynthia Ozick
2021 /
Reader: Edoardo Ballerini  3h 43m
Rating:  9.5 (a novella) 
/ historical fiction 

Lloyd Wilkinson Petrie, our 1st person narrator, starts writing his thoughts on April 30, of 1949 so his time at the school goes back to the mid-19th century. The benches were set in 80 years prior and the school closed in 1915. 

Our narrator starts at the beginning – before his own birth and his own tale (the book) turns out to be 87 pages long.  He has to excavate his own past – his emotions of childhood.  He’s the archeologist here and he only has clues and he is asked to be finished by (and he never tells us this as his digressions are those of a 70+ year old man.) 

There is a lot of innuendo as was typical of the 1940s and Petrie was raised many decades before that – 1880s?  Miss Stemmer is never called his lover.  His father was never sexually involved when he left his family.  Petrie was only a good pal to Ben Zion Elefantine.  

Flinders Petrie

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