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Here Comes Mrs. Kugelman: A Novel

2.97  ·  Rating Details ·  152 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Here Comes Mrs. Kugelman is Minka Pradelski's enchanting novel of listening and telling, of the silence between Holocaust survivors and their children, and of the power of stories to mend broken bonds

When feisty young Tsippy Silberberg of the curious eating habits receives word from Tel Aviv that a distant aunt has left her a mysterious inheritance—an incomplete fish servi
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published July 9th 2013 by Metropolitan Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Diane S ☔
Oct 31, 2013 Diane S ☔ rated it really liked it
I am not sure that any review I write can do this book justice. I listened to the NPR review and it was explained that the author had spent decades studying the psychological effects of the Holocaust on survivors. This necessitated the interviewing of many people and one person told her not to forget the Polish town of Bedzin. She didn't and in this novel manages to bring the whole town alive.

The main character is a woman named Tsippy Silberberg and she finds out that a distant aunt has left her
Sep 02, 2013 K M rated it it was ok
I find this book a bit hard to rate - I kind of want to give it a 3, as I did enjoy parts of it. But overall, my reaction was "It was okay." The stories Mrs. Kugelman told were, indeed, interesting, and sometimes moving, but the way the stories were delivered - the hotel setting, the narrator with her odd eating habits - things that seem to have been written to be entertaining were not believable to me. Nor did I find Tsippy or Mrs. Kugelman very likeable. I really wanted to like the whole book ...more
Sep 15, 2013 Lizzie rated it it was ok
The antics and odd behavior of Tsippy Silberberg took away from the book's purported message. The story telling just didn't come across effectively. Maybe something was lost in translation. I am truly shocked at the praise from others.
Jun 13, 2013 Pat rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Grab yourself a bottle of cold water, find yourself a chair, and get comfy because Mrs Kugelman is here and she has plenty of stories to share.

I found Mrs Kugelman's stories warm, endearing, and poignant. That is before they turn into a confession of how perfection was destroyed. I would have liked for that part of Mrs Kugelman's life to have been explored further. Mrs Kugelman herself is feisty and strong.

On the other hand, Tsippy Silberberg is a bit wimpy, has a strange addiction/fetish, which
Nov 09, 2013 Megan rated it really liked it
Young Tsippy Silberberg is more than a little surprised when her aunt in Tel Aviv passes away and leaves her an inheritance. When she arrives to claim it, she's even more puzzled that it consists of an incomplete fish service in a suitcase. As she sits in her beach-side hotel room trying to puzzle out the meaning of having silverware to serve something she refuses to even eat, her journey gets even stranger with a knock on the door. Behind that knock is Mrs. Bella Kugelman, a Holocaust survivor ...more
I'm a big believer in the the value of stories. I treasure the ones I learned from elders in my family, true or not. For the thing about stories is that the truth can slip as time and memory blur the edges of a tale. But a gifted storyteller is a treasure for the ability to craft images, characters, and situations for their audience.

In this novel, the storyteller is Mrs. Kugelman. She enters the world of the narrator, a young woman named Tsippy Silberberg, in a rather haphazard way. Tsippy, who
Sep 11, 2013 Amy rated it liked it
A very fast read. The parts set in modern-day Tel Aviv have a delusional, dream-like haze to them. Mrs. Kugelman's stories from pre-war Poland feel more focused and real. Charming stories, all starting with a high school classmate of Mrs. Kugelman's. They reminded me of many similar books I've read about the Jewish communities that were destroyed.

I appreciated that this book didn't dwell much on the tragic ends that all these friends and neighbors met. Not that those ends aren't important, but
Jun 23, 2013 Sandie rated it liked it
Lovers of historical fiction presented in an unusual way should appreciate HERE COMES MRS. KUGELMAN, Minka Pradelski’s unconventional account of the various inhabitants of the Polish town of Bedzin just prior to the start of WWII. Pradelski explores historical events and everyday happenings through the lens of Mrs. Kugelman who manages to bring life to those persons long dead through the stories she tells.

Mrs. Kugleman is a persistent historian not inclined to be dissuaded by the initially uncoo
May 17, 2013 Sara rated it liked it
I want to thank Goodreads and the publisher for giving me the opportunity to read this Firstread reviewers' copy.

The book introduces us to Tsippy Silberberg, who travels to Israel to claim her inheritance after her aunt's death. Tsippy has a number of issues - she is obsessed with ice and frozen foods, and she checks out the emergency exits before settling into a hotel room. While staying in the hotel in Tel Aviv, she meets Mrs. Kugelman, a Holocaust survivor, who comes to her room every day and
Oct 22, 2013 Alice rated it liked it
I found this book charming. Did you say, "How can a book about Hitler's armies invading Poland be charming?" Well, for most of the book -- although we know what is coming -- the almost idyllic childhood of Mrs. Kugelman in her small town in Poland is the subject. The town's people remind me of those in Tevye's town (from The Fiddler on the Roof) with its colorful cast of characters. Mrs. K.'s town has its share of characters in spades. I wanted to be in the Tel Aviv hotel with Mrs. K. and Tzippy ...more
Sep 09, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing
For a first novel, Minka Pradelski comes out running. This book, with a back story of some pretty funny stuff (only eating frozen food – frozen!!), takes us back to the 1940’s when Germany tried to rule the world.

Tsippy Silberberg inherits a fish service which is missing pieces. It is the perfect reason to break out of her self-imposed rut and travel a bit. After all, what could go wrong in Tel Aviv? Hah!

Barely into her hotel, Tsippy is “accosted” but a little old lady – Bella Kugelman. Bella
Jun 13, 2013 Jeff rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013

Think Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Israeli style. Tsippy Silberberg's life is driven by her strange food compulsion/fetish. When her trip to Tel Aviv gets off to the wrong start, she encounters the elderly Mrs. Bella Kugelman, self-described as "'as [a] part of this hotel as the sofas and chairs'" (p. 9).

(The real reason isn't revealed until page 158.)

Tsippy is both enthralled by Mrs. Kugelman's stories of pre-World War II Poland while a
Jun 04, 2013 Debra rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads-won
Received from Goodreads first reads giveaway.

Tippsy goes to Israel to collect her inheritence after the death of her aunt. While there she is approached by Mrs. Kugelman who begins telling her stories of her (Kugelman's) Youth. The stories are interesting and tell of a time in Poland before the War. I liked this book. I didn't love it but I liked it. For some reason that I can't really pinpoint, I had trouble getting through the first 35 pages of the book. But after that the book flowed for me.
May 20, 2013 Jennifer rated it liked it
Here come Mrs. Kugelman by Minka Pradelski was a book I was truly looking forward to reading, however it was not was I was excepting. The writing is fun and delightful, which should be good, but the subject matter is quite serious and somehow I did want to read a light-hearted look at a terrible time in history. I was hoping for a more historic, serious account of life in Poland during WWII. However, Here Comes Mrs. Kugelman may appeal to those who find most stories of the holocaust too dark and ...more
Marlene Rockmore
May 01, 2014 Marlene Rockmore rated it really liked it
I loved this book. The author is a Sociologist who writes the charming but tragic story of a village on the German Polish border in the years before the war. She extracts the story from her neighbor, Mrs Kugelman who survived the Holocaust. But it does not start out as a warm relationship -- Tsippi is drawn slowly into the story, person by person, incident by incident, until the life of the village on the eve of the German invasion is realized. By then, you want to live in this village and enjoy ...more
May 29, 2015 Jenny rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club, jewish
"Perhaps all survivors should tell their stories to someone else's children, because it's so hard to speak to your own."

It took me a while to get into this book - the main characters are both quite odd, and I found it awkward to read "oral history."

But, it was a lovely and heartbreaking and achingly honest way to yet again retell the stories of the Holocaust. This book was chosen for our book club, and I'm so glad it was.
Sep 02, 2013 Terry rated it really liked it
This book really reminds me of Ursual Helgi’s “Stones from the River” – basically a similar story, but the Jewish version. Ms. Pradelski creates an entire village with such colorful characters. I found this one rather unique too – so much has been written about the Holocaust, it takes a talented writer to breathe new life into the topic – and Ms. Pradelski did that for me. I do wonder if somethings did get lost in translation however (it was originally written in German.)
I'm the odd one here. I get the point, but I was not engaged.Yes, we all have stories, and the stories from the Holocaust should never be forgotten. I understand that there are psychological problems of parents who faced it and of their offspring who lived with said parents. But.... There was nothing appealing about the characters.The story telling was dull and made my eyes glaze over. The premise was so intriguing..but in a hotel room? The fetish for ice? Just did not work for me.
..und diese Frau Kugelmann erzählt Geschichten aus dem jüdischen Leben eines polnischen Orts vor Hitlers Einmarsch. Was Holocaust-Überlebende ihren eigenen Nachkommen offenbar nicht erzählen können, erfährt mensch hier.
Genauso wie der Protagonistin gings mir beim Lesen: Zuerst etwas langweilig, dann fand ich die Stories immer interessanter.
Sep 25, 2013 Thom rated it it was ok
What a fine example of a novel not living up to its potential. I wanted to be as caught up in the stories a survivor of the Holocaust relates to a younger character as she was, but found them to be stillborn and, for the most part, uninteresting. A novel like this should have a mystical or magical element to it, but at the end my reaction was more "eh" than blown away.
Lisa Brown
Dec 20, 2015 Lisa Brown rated it really liked it
it made me think that's what books should do right I bought it expecting a humorous story of an innocently irritating old lady but got a very interesting lesson on the impact of the invasion of Poland on the Jews in one small town and how that impact carried over to effect the children of the survivors.
Aug 09, 2015 Gina rated it it was ok
The description of this book seems like something I'd love- stories told by an elderly woman to capture the main character's attention with a focus on the Holocaust. I was sadly mistaken- the main character is an obsessed ice chewing wack job and Mrs. Kugelman tells stories that I just can't follow. Sadly disappointed.
Apr 15, 2014 Jessie rated it it was ok
Another book I randomly picked up from the library bookshelf. At some points I liked it, but overall it never really got deep enough for me. It's a book about a woman telling stories, and sometimes I wanted to hear more about the characters, read conversations, etc. There wasn't much of that.
Rohini Gupta
Apr 02, 2014 Rohini Gupta rated it it was ok
Its about a small Polish town on the German-Polish border just before ww2. The denizens of the town are all very interesting and that part of the book was actually what I enjoyed. This basic story had excepts from the authors own personal life and that did not quite add to the story.
Darcee Kraus
Apr 03, 2014 Darcee Kraus rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I loved it! Sometimes you just want to read a novel for a good story and Pradelski definitely delivers.
Oct 13, 2013 Rivka rated it liked it
This book was an interesting and different way to explore how one Polish town's Jews experienced the introduction to the Nazis and WWII
Carol Taylor
Jan 05, 2014 Carol Taylor rated it liked it
Well-written book about woman who brings to life the beginnings of the Holocaust and the impact on the survivors told thru her stories.
Janet rated it it was ok
Jan 11, 2015
Amy rated it liked it
May 23, 2014
Sindy Marks
Sindy Marks rated it it was ok
Jan 04, 2015
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“Sentences take shape from the words that are stacked on top of one another in the dusty chambers of my mind, waiting to be used--words that now peel off my lips, trembling as they come to life.” 2 likes
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