A National Book Award Finalist, like much literary fiction, there is a narrative distance between the reader and the happenings on the page. This distance makes it difficult to connect, empathize, or care about the characters and their lives.
Go inside the world of orthodox Jewish community members. Does their way of life allow for them to live and insure for their families their religious customs and beliefs, or does their way of life rob them of freedom to persue goals and dreams?
This is a story of family and trditions. Well written and joy to read.
I didn't get very far in this book. Nothing very interesting came along, so I decided I wouldn't waste any more reading time on something this boring.
Another book I could just not get my head around. I gave up pretty early.
I'm always intrigued reading about other cultures or lifestyles which are quite different from my own. Goodman writes about families who are part of an Orthodox Jewish community who follow Rav Kirshner, who is descended from a line of rabbis from Germany. The group is very strict, and the Rav tightens the demands more every year. It challenges various members to examine their lives and their beliefs. The novel takes place in the mid-1970's, and although the community lives in Washington Heights of NYC, they summer together in Kaaterskill Falls.
Goodman has a deft hand at description, and I particularly enjoyed her nature scenes. Her characters are right lightly drawn, however. I did find the examination of the lives of Orthodox Jews interesting, and how there as many layers of devotion as in the Christian communities.
It took awhile to read, just because I would get rather bored with the mundane daily stuff. However, I think the mundane was part of the intention of the author. Glad I read it, but wouldn't be drawn to ever read it again.
from Wraps--National Book Award Finalist, A New York Times NOtable Book, the Philadelphia Inquirer "A glorious tapestry. Every line in this marvelous creation rings true."
Takes place in an upstate NY town of Kaaterskill Falls. A tale of family, tradition, and disciples of a strict Jewish summer community.
Well written, certainly deserving of National Book Award Finalist status
A great book for a book group to read and discuss
a bit slow moving, but very descriptive characters and great writing.
The characters were well drawn and believable. I did find it a bit hard to follow at times, and had to look up so many words it was distracting. Nnethless this was a wonderful portrait of the life living within a Jewish sect,of the era, and of the sacrifices andrestrictions of living within a very strict sect.
I enjoyed this novel very much. It was well written. I kept waiting for something really exciting to happen in regards to the falls and it never did. You may need to know orthodox jewish customs in order to fully understand why the characters act the way they do. I'm not sure non-jewish people who don't have that understanding would enjoy this book.
From the cover . . . "It is 1976. And the tiny upstate New York town of Kaaterskill Falls is bustling with summer people in dark coats, fedoras, and long, modest dresses. Living side by side with Yankee year-rounders, they are the disciples of ®av Elijah Kirshner. Elizabeth Shulman is a restless wife and mother of five daughters; her imagination transcends her cloistered community. åcross the street åndras Melish is drawn to Kaaterskill by his adoring older sisters. Comforted, yet crippled by his isters' love, he cannot overcome the ambivalence he feels toward his own children and his young wife. At the top of the hill, ®av Kirshner is nearing the end of his life. As he struggles to decide which of his sons should succeed him -- the pious but stolid Isaiah or the brilliant but rebellious Jeremy -- his followers wrestle with their future and their past."