Cathy's Reviews > Songs for the Butcher's Daughter

Songs for the Butcher's Daughter by Peter Manseau
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Mar 03, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, jewish
Read from February 20 to March 02, 2010

Itsik Malpesh was born in the the town of Kishniev during the middle of a pogrom, just as Christians were forcing their way into the birthing room only to be stopped by a four-year- old girl, Sasha Bimko. From then on in Itsiks's mind, he and Sasha were bashert, though she left Kishniev immediately afterwards. Itsik himself has to flee to Odessa years later where he goes to live with Sasha's mother, though she has gone to Palestine. There he learns the trade of printing, hears Yidishists and Hebraists argue about what shall be the language of the Jews, and becomes a poet, with Sasha as his muse. Years later, in America, Malpesh and Sasha do meet, but we find that what is bashert is dangerous.

The bulk of Songs for the Butcher's Daughter is the story of Itsik Malpesh. The other stream is the story of the narrator, a Catholic who works for the Yiddish Book Center (under another name) who speaks Yiddish and is posing as a Jew. Mostly it's about the life and death of a language and its people.

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02/23/2010 page 97
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