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Book Discussion - Call It Sleep

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 • 2 Av 5777

7:00 PM - 8:30 PMHavurah

Please join us as Barry Kast leads a discussion of Call it Sleep. Written by Henry Roth in 1934, this novel tells the story of an eight-year-old boy growing up in the East Side of Manhattan as an immigrant from Eastern Europe. This sensitive and imaginative child had experienced his mother’s coddling as keeping him safe, but now he is terrified by the world that lies beyond sight and sound of her. His father is a "lean egotist with a persecution complex," unable to work with men, whom he fancies are always sneering and laughing at him. The pageantry of the East Side is displayed in all "its polyglot, polychrome crowds given to apparent promiscuity but governed by the sharp racial reservations of that strange world. … Often the spotlight is diverted from the main scene to some by-vision, cellar or saloon or roof-top, in which a special aspect of the made city comes to focus” (NY Times, 1935). While the book was not a hit in 1934, when it was re-published in 1964, it went on to sell more than a million copies. At that time a NY Times reviewer wrote, "At the end of a novel like Call It Sleep, one has lived through a completeness of rendered life, and all one need do is silently acknowledge its truth.” It is now regarded as a classic of Jewish literature.

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Fri, November 24 2017 6 Kislev 5778