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My Mother's Sabbath Days: A Memoir Paperback – May 1, 1997

5 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A luminous crown of the Grade oeuvre, this posthumous translation (the book was published in Yiddish 30 years ago) is a fitting kaddish to the Yiddish writer and the annihilated society of preWW II European Jewry. The first half is peppered with sharp but loving portraits of the Lithuanian Jews who inspired Grade's fictionepitomized by his mother, Vella, a pious, superstitious, humble yet self-righteous fruit peddler. As an omniscient narrator, the author offers chapters suggestive of his collected stories Rabbis and Wives, replete with midrashic saws and evocative images of a quaint, insular Vilna ("The moss-covered, hunchbacked roofs resemble the bent shoulders of bearded Jews jostling forward, the better to hear the words of a wandering preacher"). The memoir loses momentum as war intrudes and the author flees the Nazis. But it assumes a harrowing intensity as a guilt-ridden Grade, burdened by memories of his dead wife and mother, returns postwar to a gutted ghetto.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

In this poignant memoir (which won the prestigious Lamed Prize when originally published in 1955 in Yiddish), the noted author of Rabbis and Wives recalls in a series of vignettes his youth in Vilna, Lithuania; the invasion of the Nazi troops; his perilous escape to Russia; and above all his widowed mother, a pious Jew who sold produce on a street corner to support her family but never failed to keep the sabbath: "`My child, never forget that you are a Jew. Keep the Sabbath.' That was what she had said to me. I shall remember!" The excellent translation retains all the life and color of the original. A memorable book in the tradition of Sholem Aleichem and S. Y. Agnon. Highly recommended. Marcia G. Fuchs, Guilford Free Lib., Ct.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc.; 1st edition (May 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568219628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568219622
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Grade is a brooding writer, but one who also writes with grace and humor. "My Mother's Sabbath Days" is a memoir in the same way that Jorge Semprun's "Literature or Life" is a memoir, or Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past." It is an artful recreation of a way of life, that is to say, a work of fiction in the most profound sense, a work that reproduces not only the surface of reallity, but its inner depths. Grade's reputation still lags far behind his deserts. He is certainly the equal of Isaac Bashevis Singer, but he recreates the world of Polish Jewry with less mockery and with a more brooding sense of tragic loss.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Grade paints with words a lively, personal look at Jewish life in the Jerusalem of Lithuania in the twilight of its existence. "My Mother's Sabbath Days" is written in a way that enables the reader to feel as if he or she is in Vilna with Mr. Grade. We share the burden of day to day life, the joy and peace of celebrating the Sabbath, and an unforgettable journey with the simple Jews of Vilna, right before the bloody tide of the Shoah swept into history this unique way of life in Eastern Europe.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book made me cry, a few times, but in a good way. We all have beautiful thoughts and memories, Grade is a master of the written word.
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