1871. Cattle-dealer Solomon Meijer has made a reputation for himself as one of the few honest Jews in Endingen, a rare Swiss town in which Jews are allowed to reside. He leads a largely untroubled life, rewarded by his work and comforted at home by his wife and two daughters. But all of this is set to end when he answers a knock at the door in the middle of the night. On the doorstep stands his young distant cousin, Janki, half-dead and begging for refuge. The pitiful figure is invited in and given a coveted place in the bosom of the family, but when Janki recovers and regains his ambition and his fine-looks, he will change the Meijer family's lives for generations to come... In the tradition of the great family romances of the nineteenth century, Melnitz is the saga of the Swiss-Jewish Meijer family, spanning five generations from the Franco-Prussian War to World War II. It is a novel of fate, fortune and great falls; a homage to the sunken world of yiddish culture and a celebration of the enduring spirit of biting Jewish humour.