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A Day of Small Beginnings: A Novel Hardcover – November 3, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rosenbaum's debut sets The Lovely Bones to strains of Fiddler on the Roof. In rural Zokof, Poland, in 1906, young Itzik Leiber protects three small Jewish boys from a beating, resulting in the accidental death of a menacing Polish peasant. Itzik hides in a Jewish cemetery where he unknowingly draws the soul of Friedl Alterman—who died the previous year at 83. Friedl, childless in life, protects Itzik as he flees Zokof for Warsaw, then America. Fast forward 86 years as Itzik's son, Nathan Linden (name change), a scholar of international law, is a guest of the Polish government. He is drawn to his father's hometown (via a still-protective Friedl), and there he comes upon Rafael Bergson, "the last Jew in Zokof," who forces Nathan to confront his ambiguous feelings about religion and begs him to help restore Friedl's spirit through prayer and ritual. But it may be up to Ellen, Nathan's free-spirited choreographer daughter, to come to Poland to liberate Friedl's soul. Friedl's voice retreats after the early chapters, and Rosenbaum handles the shifts in voice, time and place smoothly. She packs a lot of Jewish history, recent and otherwise, into this luminous tale, as well as joy in the arts and in prayer. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

"How do you know who you are if you don't know where your family came from?" A Polish American Jewish family's search for roots provides the gripping drama in this first novel. Itzik, 14, flees a violent anti-Semitic attack in his Polish village in 1906 and makes his way to America. A vehement Yiddish socialist, he hates religion. He never talks about his past, and his son, Nathan, a Harvard scholar, never asks. Then, in Warsaw for an academic conference in 1991, Nathan visits Pop's hometown and speaks with the one Jew who has remained there after the Holocaust. Two years later, Nathan's daughter, in Poland for a dance performance, has a love affair with a Catholic musician, and they change each other, even as she confronts the continuing anti-Semitism and the riches she has lost. Neither reverential nor simplistic, this is a stirring story of secrets and discovery and, sometimes, mystical connection, especially for those who wish they had asked about family history before it was too late. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product details

  • Item Weight : 1.36 pounds
  • Hardcover : 368 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0316014516
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0316014519
  • Dimensions : 6 x 1.06 x 9 inches
  • Publisher : Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (November 3, 2006)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 30 ratings

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
30 global ratings
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3 star
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