Kathrina's Reviews > The Escape Artist

The Escape Artist by Judith    Katz
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Dec 28, 10

bookshelves: bn-concept-group, american-fiction, glbt
Read from December 20 to 28, 2010

I'm sad to learn that this book, only published in 1997, is out of print, and will now only find it's readers through used vendors and personal libraries. It's an important book, not just because it can be catagorized as lesbian fiction, but because it can rather be catagorized as historical fiction featuring a lesbian main character. The world needs more stories of homosexuals whose stories are told not because their sexual preference makes them interesting, but whose stories are inherently meaningful outside of their sexual preference. At the same time, this book is very sexy, very tragic, and very moving, all at the same time.
The story begins just past the turn of the 20th century, when a Polish Jewish family is conned into selling their teenage daughter to a Jewish pimp who whisks her away to a Jewish colony in Buenos Aires and installs her in his sister's bordello. Forced to perform sexual services and treated as a sexual slave, Sofia pines for escape. Meanwhile, back in the homeland, a young girl finds herself the only survivor of a pogrom in her small Jewish village. She dons men's clothing to survive, and eventually finds herself in the same Buenos Aires neighborhood, being groomed as a male magician extraordinaire and a meal ticket for her gangster investors. Abused and taken advantage of by the same gangster family, the two women meet and fall secretly in love, Sofia keeping Hankus's real identity her own secret. The machinations towards their own freedom are full of thrills, chills and tragedy, but in the end, though compromised, the women finally find their life together.
In the same vein as Sarah Waters' great historical fiction, this book maintains a strong momentum with unpredictable twists, engaging characters, and a clear rendering of the times and unique location. Also, this book offers a great opportunity to brush up on your Yiddish slang, from toches to nafkehs, you'll be speaking like a Jewish gangster in no time.
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message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol Great review!


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