Friday, January 30, 2009

Saperstein's: Up From Orchard Street

Up From Orchard Street by Eleanor Widmer
a review:
Orchard Street becomes an iconic address for generations of immigrant Jewish families pursuing the dream of freedom and prosperity in America in the 1930s. The Roth family's three generations embody the hopes, dreams, and frailties of thousands of families like them. Manya, the widowed matriarch, is the linchpin that holds the generations close while operating a restaurant from their tenement apartment. Elka, granddaughter and narrator, passionately relates the family's climb out of poverty in this posthumous autobiographical novel. Elka is a loving and acute observer, noting her adored father Jack's weakness for horseracing and other women and anxiety over his wife Lil's fragile health. Her mother is like a butterfly--destined to a short life but with a startlingly beautiful exterior. Sharing their world is a cast of other unforgettable family members and neighborhood characters that makes Orchard Street a vibrant tableau of New York's Lower East Side. A fictional tribute to the importance of home and hearth. Laurie Sundborg

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