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Rodinsky's Room

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  185 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
David Rodinsky lived in the old Jewish East End of London. Sometime in the late sixties he disappeared and his room was left undisturbed for 20 years. This is the story of artist Rachel Lichtenstein's fascination with the enigmatic Rodinsky and how in uncovering his past she uncovered her own.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Granta Books (UK) (first published January 1st 1999)
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Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meikes-bücher
Rachel Lichtensteins Buch ist der Bericht einer Suche, die sie durch die jüdische Geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts und von East London nach Jerusalem führt, um schließlich nicht nur Spuren des verschwundenen David Rodinsky zu finden, sondern auch ihren eigenen künstlerischen und persönlichen Weg.

Die Beschreibungen des verlassenen, baufälligen Raumes in der ehemaligen Synagoge, in dem sich noch die persönlichen Gegenstände des verschollenen Rodinsky finden, Gegenstände, die auf einen so gelehrten
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Rodinsky was a man who lived in a little attic room above a synagogue in East London. At some time in the late 1960s, he disappeared. The room was locked and not opened again until the 1980s where his belongings were discovered undisturbed, right down to the empty beer bottles on the table and the dried-up tea leaves in a cup. This is a book which stems from Rachel Lichtenstein’s research into the old (and sadly declining) Jewish culture of this part of London, and from her investigations ...more
Half of this book is pretty interesting stuff (the Lichtenstein parts) - less of an occult mystery as I'd led myself to believe, for sure, but still interesting. The other half (the Iain Sinclair half) is obtuse. Very obtuse. Thick with name-droppings. I skipped his sections. You'd be advised to do so as well unless you are really familiar with London and Londoners. It meant zip to me, sadly.
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If Ms Lichtenstein had written this alone then I would have rated it 4. I was very excited and looking forward to reading this book. The Jewish East End of London, Eastern Europe: lots of history and also mystery. I only wish Rachel Lichtenstein had written this book alone. I would strongly recommend that you not waste your time reading any of the chapters in this book written by Mr Sinclair. You'll save yourself from trying to decipher what he puts to paper and to be honest you won't miss anyth ...more
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: places-london
Beide Autoren beschreiben ihre Annäherung an Rodinsky, den angeblichen Hausmeister einer Synagoge in der Princelet Street 19 in London, der in den 60er Jahren spurlos verschwand und nur ein Dachzimmer mit seinen Habseligkeiten, insbesondere Notizen in verschiedensten Sprachen hinterließ.
Das Viertel Spitalfield, seine Geschichte und Wandel werden faszinierend beschrieben: Scheinbar lebten dort immer schon arme Einwanderer: Hugenotten, die als Seidenweber arbeiteten, später osteuropäische Juden, i
Jan 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, and it's a good way into understanding the East End of London from the perspective of one of the groups that have helped shaped it. Lichtenstein's sections are wonderful; she manages to weave her own family's history and search for identity into her research on Rodinsky and 19 Princelet St without it feeling fake or forced. She goes from London to Poland - the chapter on this trip is absolutely gripping - to Israel and back to London, tracing a geographical, historica ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So difficult to rate this book. I loved the absorbing story of Rachel Lichtenstein about her quest to find the truth of Rodinsky's life and death. However, the chapters written by Iain Sinclair were very difficult to understand. I also felt some negativity in Rachel Lichtenstein's words towards Bangladeshi community living on Brick Lane.
Other than that i loved it. Very interesting and educational book.
Oct 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
There's nothing like reading a psychogeographical book about a decrepit Jewish scholar in London's East End.
Carole Tyrrell
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second reading of this book as it enjoyed it so much the first time.
In many ways this is a detective story in that a solitary Jewish man, the Rodinsky of the title, who had been living above a decaying and abandoned synagogue, vanishes into complete oblivion one day. He leaves everything behind, even the imprint of his head on the pillow and this book is Rachel Lichtenstein’s account of her search to discover what happened to him and what happened to her along the way.
The synagogue,
May 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: incredible
With the exception of the Iain Sinclair name dropping, butt kissing, crap. I Loved Lichtenstein's account of a fascinating man who loved words and odd facts as much as the rest of us....Even his mysterious disappearance was worth the reading through the Sinclair parts. Very fun read.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
odd. alternating chapters: i liked the main author's bits, but the other sections (Sinclair) were overlong and added nothing to my experience
Taff Jones
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to live in Spitalfields - 1988 - 1991 - in the old St Matthews vicarage. It was the end of the old time really - I think I went to the Sunday market almost every single weekend that I lived there. There was an oldish (50s) Jewish bookseller who sold books from a completely dilapidated building every week on Cheshire Street and an ancient and wrecked synagogue opposite which sometimes had a few stalls. The city devours itself and few of us are more than shadows or memories of our own makin ...more
Rob Adey
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Lichtenstein bits are an urgent, increasingly personal and moving detective story (and done at about the last possible time when you had to use phone calls, archives and randomly bumping into people to find stuff out). I ended up skipping the Iain Sinclair bits (like most people, judging by reviews) – in theory, I should like him, but his incessant layering of London feel stuffy and oppressive to me, whereas Peter Ackroyd manages to make that kind thing exuberant. Not sure why he's all over ...more
Mary Blye  Kramer
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lichtenstein wrote a gripping and moving account of her search to give meaning to another forgotten Jew, and to breathe life into an abandoned Jewish community. I walked away from the book heartbroken by the abandonment and neglect of the world’s synagogues, and want to look into this further, contributing when I can. I could have done without Sinclair’s chapters - I read the first, skimmed the second, and skipped the rest. They didn’t fit into the book well at all.
Misty Walker
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a little unusual, the storytelling switching between two authors, Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair. LOVED Rachel's bit, it's a fascinating story of the mysterious disappearance of David Rodinsky, love her passion for saving history. Suffered through Iain Sinclair's bits just to get to Rachel's chapters. His bits were fancy writing for the sake of it, like it was trying too hard to be overinflated. I wouldn't read another of his books, as the writing is so deliberately above bro ...more
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
excellent read: part mystery tale /part personal narrative. includes history of the once thriving immigrant Jewish community in London's East End & its gentrification, the quiet resistance of Polish catholics during the Holocaust, rescuing sacred texts from performance artists , kabblah, & the tenuous presence traced on memory by our existence.
Oct 21, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this for a course, but it's a very good and very strange collaboration between two extremely different authors. It's worth reading to experience the clash of past and present cultures in East London, as well as the results of intellectual obsession.
Mugren Ohaly
Constant backtracking in the narrative makes the story a lot longer than it should be
Aug 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This would be a perfect book were it not for the Iain Sinclair chapters. There is never a need for Iain Sinclair.
Sep 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
David Penn
Aug 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Memorable and fascinating . Interesting to see how two authors can produce a coherent book and have very distinctive voices.
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Jenny Thomas
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Kurt Albert
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Sep 10, 2017
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Oct 09, 2012
Joe Evans
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Nov 16, 2017
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