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Everyday Jews: Scenes from a Vanished Life

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  61 ratings  ·  9 reviews

When Everyday Jews was first published in Poland in 1935, the Jewish Left was scandalized by the sex scenes, and I. B. Singer complained that the novel was too bleak to be psychologically credible. Yet within two years Perle’s novel was heralded as a modern Yiddish masterpiece. Offering a unique blend of raw sexuality and romantic love, thwarted desire and spiritual longi

Hardcover, 384 pages
Published November 14th 2007 by Yale University Press (first published 1935)
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  61 ratings  ·  9 reviews

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Lewis Weinstein
It's easy to see why this was a shocking book to Polish Jews in 1935. Topics are discussed here that were generally off-limits ... sexual awakening, marital infidelity, attempted rape (of a young boy by an older woman).

There is also a very clear sense of the value of persistence - a need to just keep going in the face of whatever problems life brings - that was very much a part of the Polish Jew's psyche.

I'm planning to have Anna, my main female character in the novel I'm writing, who will be
May 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
A novel about a working-class Hassidic Jewish family in Poland sometime in the early 20th century, as narrated by twelve-year-old Mendl. There isn't really a plot, just a slice of life from that time and place. The book becomes all the more significant because it was published in 1935 and the modern reader knows that way of life is about to be destroyed forever: hence the subtitle, "Scenes from a Vanished Life." The author himself died in Auschwitz.

Although the narrator of Everyday Jews is a chi
Dec 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Yehoshue Perle (1888-1943) was a popular and prolific Polish Yiddish novelist, and in this book he chronicles a year in the life of 12 year old Mendl and his family in a Polish provincial town around the turn of the 20th century. Based largely on his own life, it is an unflinching look at the struggles faced by a community of poor Jews and confronts the harsh reality of growing up at that time. Perle shows much empathy for his characters, vividly describes the hustle and bustle of daily life and ...more
Cooper Renner
Is it a bildungsroman or an entwicklungsroman? I can't keep my terms straight. One way or another, it's too episodic to build much dramatic tension except in isolated plot segments, and while the insight into ordinary life for working class Jews in Eastern Europe around 1900 is strong, it could probably have been done in a novel half this length. Often funny, often touching, but a bit too much of a good thing.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
יידן פון א גאנץ יאר
"יהודים של כל השנה"
"יהודים סתם"
In the Hebrew translation
This is the autobiographically-based story of Yehoshue Perle who wrote it in 1936, and is describing a year in the life of a Jewish Family in the Shtetl (in Poland of course) around the year 1900.
This book gives us a rare and authentic access, through the eyes of the growing-up Mendl, to a way of life that was, is no longer, and surely will never recur ever again. Surprisingly, the writing is quite modern, and the t
Joel Etra
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this glimpse into the lives of 19th century Polish Jews. Far from an idealistic picture, it reveals life's seamier side. I felt the translation was a bit clumsy at times. The Norse are helpful.
Linda Appelbaum
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is remarkable because of when it was written and the author's backstory. Nothing really happens in the book but it is an intricate story of a young boys life in Poland before WWII. It is like being there with him and his family going through everyday life. Part one of what was to be a 3 part series it was never completed because he died in a concentration camp thinking h was on a train to freedom.
Chris Bull
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Quite a gripping read. Young Mendl calls like he sees it. Life is a struggle for all concerned. Even the "rich" Jews in the capital struggle to keep up appearances.
People are upwardly mobile and at the same time downwardly. There are not that many narratives which speak of this time and place.
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Yehoshue Perle (1888-1943) was one of Poland’s most popular, controversial, and prolific Yiddish novelists of the interwar—and wartime—period.

aka Iehoshua Perle, Yehoshua Perle, Shie Perle