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Wandering Stars

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3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  130 ratings  ·  25 reviews
The first complete translation of an epic love story by the creator of Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof

Great Yiddish humorist Sholem Aleichem's Wandering Stars, is a sprawling love story spanning ten years and two continents, and set in the colorful world of the Yiddish theater.

In a Russian shtetl at the end of the nineteenth century, Reisel, daughter of a poor cantor, and Lei
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Kindle Edition, 460 pages
Published (first published 1909)
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Community Reviews

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Elijah Kinch Spector
At no other production will you witness so many tears shed on the stage over the plight of desolate widows and miserable orphans, over lost children and butchered babies, over Jewish daughters murdered and Jewish wives dishonored in bestial pogroms. And the rib-tickling humor, laughter, and Jewish wit heard on our stage cannot be beat.
- An ad for a fictitious Yiddish-American play in Sholem Aleichem’s Wandering Stars, page 280.

The writing of Sholem Aleichem is a lot like klezmer music. Not just
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Nakhshik Tovmasyan
great!!!!!!one of the best books ever!!!!!1
Lorri

What an amazing novel, and what an incredible story! Wandering Stars, by Sholem Aleichem, and translated from the Yiddish by Aliza Shevirn, is a journey into Yiddish Theater unlike anything you have read on the subject. Jews are known as wanderers, and Aleichem’s novel not only evokes that theme, but also infuses the story with characters-turned actors straight from Holeneshti, a Russian shtetl, who become stars in their own right, shining brightly on stage.

Reisel is the daughter of a cantor, a
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Irving
ÇLEAH AND LEIBEL VISIT A YIDDISH THEATER IN A SHETAL AND ATTEND SEVERAL PERFORMANCES. THE ARE VERY YOUNG AND FALL IN LOVE. ALTHOUGH ONLY 13 AND 15 THEY FEEL THE ARE MEANT FOR EACH OTHER. THEY EACH JOIN A SEPARATE THEATRICAL GROUP AND ARE SEPARATED FOR MANY YEARS. EACH HAS SUCCESS AND FAME. THERE ARE SEVERAL INTERTWINING LIVE STORIES AND A HOST OF CHARACTERS BOTH MEN AND WOMEN. A GOOD STORYTELLER.

Merged review:

LEAH AND LEIBEL VISIT A YIDDISH THEATER IN A SHETAL AND ATTEND SEVERAL PERFORMANCES. T
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Bobbi
I read about half way through this book. It was humorous and I enjoyed it but the jokes were the same over and over. The plot was so slow in getting anywhere, so I finally put it down. I don't have the staying power I used to have. I think his shorter writings would be better.
Saraes
I just finished this book last night. It had been sitting on my shelf for a few months now and something said, "Sara, read this book NOW." I totally understand Reizel's character, I feel like a Gypsy myself, but the ending just broke my heart! I read the book in four days, which is fast for me these days with everything I have going on, but Aleichem's writing is top notch and hilarious at times that even when the book seems slow, it's still moving fast. I think everyone should read this book as ...more
Susann
In this excellent translation from Yiddish, this story follows early 20th century Yiddish theatre performers, as they traverse Europe and eventually arrive in New York City. Although the focus is on two runaways, Leibel/Leo and Reizel/Rosa, who leave their village of Holeneshti to join the troupe, the book comes alive with the often hilarious secondary characters.

Originally serialized in a newspaper, the book's sprawling style doesn't quite suit my impatient reading nature, but I think the char
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Stephen
On the 150th anniversary of Sholem Aleichem’s birth, Wandering Stars has been published in English for the very first time. Yiddish is notoriously under-translated and this book, by the grandfather of Yiddish lit, is proof that there are a lot of gems out there yet to be represented. A love story taking place in the theater, Wandering Stars reminds in scope and in amplitude of the classics of Russian fiction written by Aleichem’s contemporaries such as Tolstoy, Dosteovski. If you are familiar wi ...more
Yuri Kruman
Sholem Aleichem at his most expansive, clever and humorous. His weaving of Old World sensibilities with New World pragmatism through the lenses of love magnified by distance and time, through the ambition of stern fathers and the small-town idealization well into adulthood, he manages to capture something elusive and mysterious - the ethos of a colorful and fascinating era long gone and largely destroyed. In the same breath, he manages to trace the deeply ingrained motivations, delusions and sin ...more
Lynne
This is such a great book. The translators seem to have done a great job. The nuances of the original Yiddish remain true in its delivery in English. I can only imagine Tevye as the narrator of this story. Oy! Because my husband's great grandfather was a very successful Yiddish theater actor at the same time as this book was written, it is particularly resonant with me. Sholem Aleichem's description of immigrants coming to America, and his observations of "This American Life" are as applicable t ...more
Pbwritr
A really great book that transports the reader to another world. The author wrote Fiddler on the Roof, and this book is 150 years old, newly translated. Fascinating look at the 19th century, Eastern Europe, the Jewish world, and the acting world. Leibel and Reizel both leave their shetl on the same night with a visiting troupe, only to be split up immediately and yearning for each other for years. The book moves to London and America, with indelible characters, particularly the successive stage ...more
A.M.
A very entertaining read, but the ending ... Oy vey!
Adrie
Though it can occasionally seem a bit slow this novel is worth reading. It is something beautiful and heartbreaking. One wishes with every page to see the lovers reunited, knowing that their separate lives are great but together they could be perfect. There is so much sadness and joy as these characters travel from country to country, losing old friends and gaining new and learning to live life.
Katherine
as a former theatre kid, i can attest to the reality of the inevitability of incestuous romantic entanglements. this captures it perfectly, even made me a little nostalgic. im glad to know theatre people have been crazy for a while now. aleichem is the world's best storyteller, even better than singer. i heart him so much.this is def my fave book of his .
Linda
My mother recommended this highly. This is a new edition/translation of the original work, published in honor of what would be Sholom Aleichem's 150th birthday. It has a forward by Tony-award-winning playwright Tony Kushner.

The story has to do with two lovers who become actors in New York's Yiddish theater around the turn of the last century.
Jeanne
I wanted to like this book about 2 star-crossed Jewish lovers at the end of the 19th century. The book tells of how a Yiddish theatre troupe came to town and how the star-crossed lovers left with the troupe and their eventual show-biz success. It's told in a rambling, narrative style that just doesn't work for me.
Aaron
A romp of a serialized novel. Two shtetl kids, sweethearts, one the son of a rich man, one the daughter of the poor cantor, run off with a traveling theater. Separated, they become stars of the stage, hoping to reunite once more. "Stars don't fall, they wander."
Mikkee
This was a translation, and I think that translations are hard because some essence is lost when you don't read a work in its original language. The story was well-written and very Yiddish. I felt like the book took me through so much and let me down with the ending.
Kelly
This book moved in far too slow and rambling a manner for me to be captivated by. I had o quit about 3/4 of the way through, which is rare for me. I just didn't particularly care about any of the characters or the resolution of the tale.
Jon
There's a reason Sholem Aleichem is known as the greatest Yiddish writer of all time. Once you get into this book, its humor, compassion and warmth will satisfy you like only your Bubby's kugel cooking can.
mark
A romantic novel, set internationally on the Yiddish stage at the turn of the 20th century. This is a sprawling, imperfect work, but full of delights in strange corners.
Alisa
Really good book even though some minor things confused me and slight disappointment of how it ended. I still really liked the book and enjoyed reading it.
Colin
3.5 stars on this one--moved fast, funny, lots of scheming and intrigue. I was a bit dissatisfied with the ending though.
Animat
Can I give it 6 stars? This book made me cry my eyes out for 2 days straight...
Valerie
I love Sholem Aleichem's writing style. Love.
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Satire--Wandering Stars by Sholom Aleichem 1 1 Jan 27, 2013 07:33AM  
Satire--Wandering Stars by Sholom Aleichem 1 1 Jan 27, 2013 07:33AM  
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Jewish writer, Sholem Rabinovich (1859-1916), who wrote under the pen name of Sholem Aleichem (Hebrew for "peace be upon you").

From 1883 on, Sholem Aleichem produced over forty volumes in Yiddish, thereby becoming a central figure in Yiddish literature by 1890.

Sholem Aleichem's narratives were notable for the naturalness of his characters' speech and the accuracy of his descriptions of shtetl lif
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More about Sholem Aleichem...
Tevye the Dairyman and the Railroad Stories Tevye's Daughters: Collected Stories of Sholom Aleichem Tevye the Dairyman & Motl the Cantor's Son Adventures of Mottel the Cantor's Son The Tevye Stories and Others

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