The Frozen Rabbi
And what happens when Bernie Karp, the impressionable fifteen-year-old son of the couple in whose home the rabbi lies frozen, inadvertently thaws out the ancient man? Such are the questions raised in this wickedly funny and ingenious novel by author Steve Stern, who, according to the Washington Post Book World, belongs in the company of such writers as Stanley Elkin, Cynth...more
Briefly, the book follows the fate of a rabbi who becomes frozen into a block of ice somewhere in rural Poland sometime in the late 19th century. He remains frozen in this block whilst it it is transported across Europe, and then the Atlantic, to the USA. There, in the early 21st century, the refrigerator containing the ice-encased rabbi breaks down. The rabbi steps out ...more
Intrigued by the title, repulsed by the story. A rabbi is meditating in 1800's Poland, goes into a trance while at a lake, doesn't wake up, is frozen in the ice, removed by a family, and kept frozen and protected by that family for over 100 years. I like multi-generational stories, but this is ridiculous. The rabbi (in his zinc lined casket so he doesn't melt) is brought to America, kept in a Kelvinator freezer, and then one day the Rabbi melts and is once again alive. The family which ...more
Stern is an author that cares both about the individual sentence AND the overall story. Absolutely go out and support this author and wonderful publishing house and buy, read and enjoy The Froze ...more
Die Geschichte hätte interessant sein können, wäre der Erzählstil des Autors nicht so umständlich. Er schreibt seitenweise Hintergründe zusammen, ohn ...more
Der pubertäre Bernie Karp findet in der Gefriertruhe einen in einem Eisblock eingefrorenen Rabbi, der sich seit über 100 Jahren in Familien"besitz" befand und beim nächstbesten Stromausfall natürlich sofort auftaut und zum Leben erwacht.
Ich erwartete hier ein lustige Geschichte davon, wie sich der aufgetaute Rabbi in der modernen Welt durchschlägt, aber weit gefehlt. Überwiegend wird die Geschichte der Familie erzählt, die den gefrorenen Rabbi jahrzehntelang gehütet und von ...more
"Sometime during his restless fifteenth year, Bernie Karp discovered in his parents' food freezer - a white-enameled Kelvinator humming in its corner of the basement rumpus room - an old man frozen in a block of ice."
Then it slides immedi ...more
If you don't know any Yiddish, go read something else first, maybe some old MAD magazines or another author - but you won't need much, and most of the terms are spelled out or obvious in context. There are plenty of interesting characters of the "put them together and stand back to watch" kind. Your willingness to suspend disbelief will ...more
There are essentially two concurrent plots. One set in modern times in which a so called rabbi revives after thawing from a block of ice and engages with the modern world. The other follows the family that safeguards the frozen rabbi through the generations.
In the former, the rabbi rapidly acclimates, leverages his religious knowledge as a scam ...more
Das Buch erzählt 2 Geschichten. Einmal die Vergangenheit ab 1889, wo der Rabbi Elieser ben Zaphir eingefroren wurde und dann nach Amerika kam, und dann ab 1999, wie der Rabbi im "Jetzt" auftaut.
Den Anfang des Buches fand ich recht schwierig, da der Autor viele Schachtelsätze und ebenfalls viele jüdische "Fachwörter" verwendet. Das Glossar am Ende ist nicht so hilfreich, da ich keine Lust habe, bei jeden dritten Satz nachzuschlagen. Fußnoten mit kurzen Erklärungen hätte ich, bei den ...more
There are two narratives in alternating chapters of the book. One is the present time account of the teen who thaws out the wonder-working rabbi who has been kept frozen for over a ...more
Every time I grew attached to a character, that character would be swapped out for a younger relative, resulting in a watered down portrait of the Karp clan. If this had been solely a story about a boy and his defrosted rabbi, it may have succeeded as a comic satire, but by interweaving that story with tales of the young Bernie's predecessors, Stern weakened all the plotlines.
I pulled this book out of my local library hoping for a thoughtful, quirky or at least fun Jewish read to brighten up my summer.
Instead, what I got was an insipid, overlong and frankly pretty offensive book that I wish I hadn't wasted my time reading.
Stern is enchanted with the sound of his own voice, and it shows. Almost every sentence in The Frozen Rabbi could (and probably should) be cut in half, and the book wouldn't suffer at all. In fact ...more
What happens when a 19th Century rabbi, who has been
preserved in ice,suddenly is defrosted and finds himself
in the 21st Century? In this madcap,extremely entertaining
novel,we not only find out the answer to that question,but
we also gain an insight into life in a Jewish "shtetl" in
the 19th Century. Furthermore,we get a very realistic
glimpse of the voyage of immigrants who came from Europe
in "steerage",and we are exposed to the difficulties of
life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan at the tu ...more