Halbman Steals Home


Mort Halbman is the prime suspect in an arson investigation when his family home burns down, and he feels compelled to continually return to the ruins and to the memories the place still holds for him.

Haunted by the memories of his former home and life, Mort Halbman risks everything in a daring attempt at a last shot at redemption. Halbman is a crotchety, divorced, 65-year-old garment manufacturer, who laments losing the one true love of his life, the Montreal Expos. Now the dream home he built in the late 1960s in the exclusive Montreal suburb of Hampstead, where he lived with his family for 20 years, has burned down under mysterious circumstances, andMort finds himself the prime suspect in an arson investigation.

Meanwhile, his estranged gay son, Jacob, has announced that he’s getting married and wants Mort to participate in the rabbi-officiated same-sex ceremony along with his ex-wife, Mona, and her insufferable boyfriend, Gordon, Canada’s book reviewer extraordinaire. It’s the last thing Mort wants to do. He feels compelled to continually return in his Jaguar to the burned-out ruin of his former home, and to the memories the place still holds for him. With pathos and humour, Halbman Steals Home tells the story of Mort’s daring attempt to risk everything for a last shot at redemption.


"Rotchin's talents for character are on fine display in the darkly comical Mort Halbman. As impressively crafted as his debut novel, The Rent Collector, Rotchin's follow-up will entertain those searching for an uncomplicated, engaging read."

Publishers Weekly (December, 2011)

"Rotchin is adept at sketching character and creating convincing dialogue. [] Halbmans cronies, his children, his wife, his city are immediately recognizable and Rochin has an uncanny ability to draw us in with the clarity of his prose and charming narrative."

The Toronto Star (February, 2012)

"Rotchin's latest novel, Halbman Steals Home, is one that any Jew with a sense of humour wont be able to put down."

The Jewish Tribune (March, 2012)

"With skill and tenderness, Rotchin designs a world of characters so authentic, and carves a poetic tale rich with wit and pathos."

Friday Night Magazine (March, 2012)

"Halbman Steals Home brings to mind Mordecai Richler's satirical portrayal of Jews."

Canadian Jewish News (March, 2012)

Halbman makes for entertaining company and the book breezes along. Rotchins prose flow with a nice comic edge, his dialogue is crisp, his evocation of place unerring. This kind of writing, with its unassuming view into a very specific world, is too often undervalued.

The Montreal Gazette (May, 2012)

"Sometimes home is not what we think it is, Rotchin tells us, and memory can become a way forward rather than an anchor to the past. These themes will resonate even for those who have never set foot in Montreal."

McGill News Alumni Magazine (January, 2012)

“…Halbman Steals Home is a thoroughly enjoyable read… The author is a master at describing so much of what makes Montreal such a compelling city in which to set a story… anyone who enjoys seeing much of hypocrisy in Jewish life made clver – and usually gentle fun, of, should get a kick out of this book.”

The Jewish Post and News (January, 2012)

About the Author

B. Glen Rotchin

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014
B. Glen Rotchin photo

B. Glen Rotchin

B. Glen Rotchin has published fiction, poetry, essays, and book reviews. He has won two Canadian Jewish Book Awards for co-editing poetry anthologies, Jerusalem: An Anthology of Jewish Canadian Poetry (1997) and A Rich Garland: Poems for A.M. Klein (2000), while his debut novel, The Rent Collector, was a finalist in 2005 for the Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Rotchin lives in Montreal.