1982, in what has come to be Inknown as "The Village Voice Controversy," two reporters, Geoffrey Stokes and Eliot Fremont-Smith, wrote an article that accused Jerzy Kosinski of, among other things, dishonestly portraying his past in his fiction and hiring editors who went beyond editing to "collaborate" on his manuscripts.
Friends and publishers jumped to his defense. But despite urging, Kosinski never responded publicly to these charges. When The Hermit of 69th Street appeared in 1988, it was obvious to all who were aware of the controversy that this was "the hermit's" response.
Any reader of the novel, therefore, needs to be aware of the controversy to fully understand this book.
In all his novels, Kosinski's central concern has always been with the alienated victim who has to learn the language of the oppressor to escape his victimization. Paul R. Lilly, Jr., in his book, Words In...