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There Are Jews in My House Paperback – December 7, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
The opening story is the longest and most ambiotious of the book. It is also the scariest, though again not the way one would expect. My favorite, however, was the story called Mistress, portraying psychological struggles of recent Russian immigrants living in Brooklyn. From the nine-year-old boy Misha who is forced to assist his linguistically handicapped grandmother to his grandfather finding himself unable to work in America and earn his respect, Vapnyar's depth and precision in revealing their most intimate feelings are truly unbelievable. A Dostoyevsky influence is visible, but Vapnyar's writing is much lighter and less imposing.
Overall, this is an excellent book combining an intriguing literary style with good entertainment, warmth and food for one's thoughts and soul.
The title story is particularly poignant, and shows the level of anti-semitism in Russia mostly in the 1940's, and how while it was there, it was not the same as that of Poland, which was ingrained in the society for 100's of years, or that of Germany, which was institutionalized by the Nazi party. Yet, it was still there, it was always there. And when a person started to get on another's nerves, when they were more successful, when they were more literate, when they did things that were beyond the ability of the other individual, well the answer cannot be, that I am inferior, it must be, that they are Jews.
But must it? Perhaps, if perception is reality. Even the children in her story, "A Question For Vera" are indoctrinated in some of the usual anti-semitic methods of the time, including phrenology. It is in this very story, that Vapnyar poses the question, so reminiscent of Shakespeare's Shylock in the "Merchant of Venice" when he says, "...If you prick us do we not bleed?..." But Vapnyar says it her way, "What if ... there wasn't anything bad or special about being Jewish? Katya looked around. There was nobody to answer that question..."
Aside from her incredible insight, it is so much the more so interesting, that English is not Ms. Vapnyar's first language.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are jews in my house shows deep and profound understanding of human nature.
It reads easily, although the subject matter is horrifying, it is hard not to feel and... Read more
Lara Vapnyar has one of the purest voices in modern fiction. In these stories, written with almost Chokhovian acuity and crispness, she traces all the idiosyncrasies and pathos of... Read morePublished on February 10, 2014 by Steven Volynets
Wow!I enjoy reading it!I love these short stories!While reading it, I remembered my childhood and I got great pleasure of the moments of nostalgia)))Published on February 21, 2013 by Dasha
I found each of the stories in this collection to be deeply emotional, but not in the typical "the Germans are after the Jews" kind of way. Read morePublished on September 13, 2012 by Mirrani
Lara Vapnyar is a talented author who conspicuously enjoys reminiscing about the culture she grew up in and portraying it in engaging stories. Read morePublished on January 6, 2009 by Y. Raytseva
Ms.Vapnyar's stories are some of the best I have read. I only hope she will produce many more! Thank you, Lara!Published on April 17, 2006 by A. gershburg
There Are Jews at My House is a noble, unforced, and unpretentious first effort from an ESL author who shows promise of coming into her own. Read morePublished on April 27, 2005 by Yan Timanovsky