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Mercy of a Rude Stream: A Star Shines over Mt. Morris Park Paperback – December 15, 1994

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Roth's much discussed sequel to Call It Sleep was 60 years in the writing and is the first in the author's projected six-volume series.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"Roth creates his own Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man--a marvelously poetic chronicle."--Chicago Sun-Times

"An extraordinary and provocative work. . . . One of the great literary comebacks of the century."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Mr. Roth's innovative use of language. . .is both beautiful and highly realistic. . . .Although there is no style called Rothian, there should be."--New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; Reprint edition (December 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312119291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312119294
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,832,178 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on November 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having read Roth's classic CALL IT SLEEP on the recommendation of a very enthusiastic friend, I couldn't wait to start his MERCY OF A RUDE STREAM series. A STAR SHINES OVER MT. MORRIS PARK is an example of fine writing. Sure, there is some ambiguity in Roth's perspective shifts from the narrator as a boy and as an older man, but what's a little ambiguity in the face of wonderful language, a driving plot, a totally sympathetic and believable narrator, and some great insights about human character? Read this book. I've already got the next three on order.
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Format: Paperback
In 1934, the 28-year old Henry Roth published "Call It Sleep" which became a classic novel reflecting the lives of Jewish immigrants on the lower east side in the early part of the twentieth century.
Almost sixty years later, in 1993, the elderly Roth published Volume I of his second novel, "Mercy of a Rude Stream" which was intended to be the first of a 6-volume set. He has titled this volume, "A Star Shines Over Mt. Morris Park" and tells the story of Ira Stigman, a Jewish child growing up in Harlem from 1914 until 1920.
The title comes from a Shakespearean quotation which sees life as a tumultuous rude stream and as the novel proceeds, it is obvious that this is the thinking of the author. Although Roth insists that this book is not autobiographical, it is structured in a unique way. There is an aging author who is looking back on his childhood and struggling to put all his memories down on his new computer. These recollections are a break in the narrative and remind the reader of the inevitability of aging as he comments on his current rheumatoid arthritis and his disappointment in one of his sons. He'll then get back to the basic story of the young Ira Stigman and his coming of age.
The reader can't help identifying with the young protagonist and seeing the world through his eyes. We live through the feelings of alienation and of trying to assimilate. We understand the tears of his grandmother as his uncle goes off to fight in World War I. We experience the conflicts between the old Jewish culture and the new American one. There is anti-semitism, racism and poverty. There is hope for the future and a rude sexual awakening. It's all the stuff that life is made of.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought and read this novel with no idea of its acclaim. I must say that I never expected to greatly enjoy a story of a boy growing up in Jewish Harlem and certainly did not expect to relate to the main character. Roth prods us to look at ourselves and see our own attempts to break free of our stereotypes. An absolutely great read.
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By A Customer on September 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
If you liked Call It Sleep, you'll definitely like this puppy. My suggestion? Go for it. It's a winner.
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