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The End of the Jews

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  288 ratings  ·  53 reviews

The ruthlessly engrossing and beautifully rendered story of the Brodskys, a family of artists who realize, too late, one elemental truth: Creation’s necessary consequence is destruction.

Each member of the mercurial clan in Adam Mansbach’s bold new novel faces the impossible choice between the people they love and the art that sustains them. Tristan Brodsky, sprung from the

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 18th 2008 by Spiegel & Grau (first published 2008)
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3.64  · 
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 ·  288 ratings  ·  53 reviews

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I have a weird relationship with Adam Mansbach's books. I, like most people, first heard of him when Go the Fuck to Sleep took the entire literary world of those under 2 and over 35 by firestorm. I though it was a weird gimmicky silly book but good for Akashic for putting out a sleeper hit, and then forgot about it.

Then last year I stumbled upon a proof of his newest book, Rage Is Back, and was shocked to realize that the same guy had made a novel about graffiti writers in NYC in the '70s. I bu
Feb 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Adam Mansbach's recent horror action thrillers betrayed a literary skills and credentials, but this book really brought home just how well the man can write. And talk about versatility, this one is miles away from Dead Run and Devil's Bag Man in almost every possible way, except for quality. The End of Jews is an exploration of several generations of a New York (Jewish, obviously) family and their wide circle of friends, lovers and acquaintances. Its timeline interweaving narrative is sprawling, ...more
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Mansbach is audacious, honest. He doesn't mind getting into the uncomfortable, embarrassing bits of ourselves. His prose has a bit of that neo-realist, hyper-pop-culturally aware thing that Lethem can do in his sleep (see Fortress of Solitude or You Don't Love Me Yet) but lacks some of the shades of subtlety. No worries, The End of The Jews proves that Mansbach is obviously possessing of a huge intellect and huge writer's balls, both of which should keep us reading him as he grows up.
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it
After reading other's reviews, I wanted to clarify something for the non-Jewish readers who felt the title is misleading.
Jews are known to be negative. But in a comedic way.
Near the beginning of the book, Tris is describing his friend's lavish Bar Mitzvot to his grandfather who responds in typical jewish fashion with hyperbole. One can hear the old man, clearing his throat of phlegm and shaking is head and saying "It's the end of the Jews."
I grew up with these extremes. Just because something'
Nov 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good. Stick with it through the first couple engrossing but slightly confusing chapters (or maybe just don't read it on the subway and you won't find it confusing) and it will be very rewarding.
Dec 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Adam Mansbach writes sentences I wish I had written. That is all.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
Really well written. Good story line. Ending seemed to come quite abruptly, but thoroughly enjoyed the quick read.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cross-generational, nonlinear, interdenominational, very entertaining. And, best I can see, we're still here.
Marloes Baren
Jan 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: america
I never heard about the author or any of his books before and had no idea what to expect. I read it with an open mind, with no expectations and found myself pleasantly surprised.

I find his style absolutely charming. An example that comes to mind from the very beginning of the story (avoiding spoilers) is a description of a character going up the stairs in the apartment building, going up 'several blending food smells'* before reaching his destination, which took me right to an old rotten Parisia
Elliot Ratzman
Apr 30, 2012 rated it liked it
This worthy novel traces the rise and plateau-ing of two Jewish writers: the promising “New York Intellectual” who scandalizes the community with a novel about Jewish slave owners and the grandson, an aspiring writer with a weak first novel. Both are entangled with black creativity, befriending and serving musicians in various capacities. Both have spouses who are artists, a poet and a photographer. The sacrifices all make for art loom large: women who live in the shadows of male creators, frien ...more
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009
I really loved this book---my four stars as I found some uneveness in the tone, but overall a great book. You feel as though you are in the lap of the main characters; their souls are very palpable and the differences between them strong and convincing. You feel the tension of the struggling artist; the inextricable pull toward artistic fulfillment at the compromise of their Jewish heritage. I love the relationship between Tristan and his grandson Tris/RISK---it makes the strain of Tris' relatio ...more
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Just finished this book, and I must say, Mansbach has a true gift for language and for creating a compelling plot. Mansbach is fond of using clever metaphors and similes in order describe his characters' actions, and this adds even more depth to the story. It was interesting how he addressed relations between Jewish and African-American communities, in how they share a common history of suffering. This witty drama reminds me of a movie Woody Allen would make, since it addresses estranged Jewish ...more
Lefty Right
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Two generations of Jewish writers -- a grandfather and grandson -- and their partners, a poet and photographer respectively, are depicted in this novel that deals more successfully with the relationship between life and writing than the Jewish survival question, which the title suggests. The elder writer has elements of Norman Mailer and Philip Roth about him, I suppose, while the younger deals with having grown up white among hip hop artists and taggers.

While I didn't find this impossible to p
Apr 06, 2008 rated it liked it
So I never actually finished this book. I don't really know why I couldn't get through it. The story itself wasn't bad but the constant jump in time and characters from chapter to chapter was SO confusing. Had I had the time to read this book quickly, I probably could have finished it, but since I picked it up and put it down, I kept forgetting what I had read before. Sometimes I couldn't make heads to tails of which character I was reading about - between Tris, Tristan etc.
I need more continui
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mansbach's family saga seems more concerned with the making of art than the making of Jewish identity, but his story of writers, photographers and the occasional jazz musician is highly entertaining and moving. I liked his characters, though I would have liked a little more background on how the young Tristan Brodsky who yearns to be a writer and escape the Jewish ghetto of the Bronx morphs into a somewhat tyrannical old man. And Mansbach is interested in the Otherness of being Jewish and to wha ...more
Jan 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Great author, great story, enjoyable read. It's a page turner, although maybe a bit slow to get into. It's wroth following the lives of these characters as they deal with each other and face family trouble. Yes, the title if provocative but I think it's a shame that some people feel let down because the title didn't live up to their expectations! Did you read the jacket? Didn't you know what it was about?! It's great. Worth the time. There's a lot to be learned from Mansbach.
What don't I like about this book? I guess it is the tone of the book, the language the author uses. Both this and Siri Hustved's What I Loved were about art; bothe were about very violent behavior and about human relationships, but something was missing in this book. It was not way as intellectual, and it never gripped me as the other did. Mansbach did capture the characteristic dialogue of different age groups, of blacks, of Jews, of immigrants.
Nov 26, 2011 rated it liked it
I'd like to give this book another half star. The exploration of the theme of the sacrifices people make to create art were especially interesting to me and the family relationships so real and poignant. The title is a bit misleading. I did get weary by the end, which is why I'm not rating the book higher.
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you only like page turners, look elsewhere. I'm convinced that there are some novels that really don't have a "plot," because the characters are alive enough to just be who they are, interact with each other, and that becomes compelling enough. That's the simplest way to explain the greatness of this story.
Aug 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Family saga of intellectual Jewish family starting in the 1930s up until the 2000s. Shows the intersection of the Jewish and black, and immigrant experience. Quirky cast of characters. Mr. Mansbach created characters that really became living and breathing. I felt like a family friend by the end of the book. Grandfather and grandson by the unlikely name of Tristan Brodsky.
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A funny and insightful book about identity and family that you just can't put down. It's an intergenerational coming-of-age story. Weather musicians, writers, or graffiti artists, the characters in this story are very real and you can't help but root for them even when they seem to be getting it all wrong.
Jul 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
After reading the first chapter I was worried that this was going to a be a dry historical novel, but it ends up spanning three generations of Jews and presenting some interesting arguments about the sources of one's fiction writing and how the writer persona can affect one in the arenas of friendship and family. Mansbach does a great job inhabiting a diverse and colorful cast of characters.
Jun 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008june
"The End of the Family" would've been just as fitting a title for this book -- it only happens that they're Jews. Parallel stories of novelists grandfather and grandson trying to claw into the literary world.

Really, really well written, with characters you're not quite sure you like but are interesting enough you want to meet 'em anyway.
Mar 30, 2009 rated it liked it
this is a smart, saavy read. I enjoyed it, but some of the characters were overly (almost embarrassingly) contrived...thus, the deduction of stars. the title also annoyed me just a bit, because it came off (to me, anyway) as a bit sensentional.
May 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. If you care about what it means to be Jewish, or an artist, or even if you just wonder about what your dedication to any pursuit can do to the people around you, then I think this book is good for you, too.
Jan 21, 2009 marked it as to-read
Shelves: fiction, jewish
I saw Mansbach's other novel, Angry Black White Boy, adapted for the stage at Intersection for the Arts. This looks even better.
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favourites
I can't put my finger, exactly, on why I loved this book so much, although the characters are a big part of it. It's incredibly complicated and vivid, and there are moments of insight but no trite scenes of 'redemption'.
Joan Gelfand
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i wrote an exhaustive blog post and review on Amazon on this book. I loved it - I thought it was brilliant. Mansbach is on par w/Chabon, Russo, Powers. Magnificent. The topic was of particular interest as it was an aspiring writer marries 'up' to an aspiring poet. Lovely.
Aug 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: glad-i-read
This is an engaging, terrific book with solid, stellar characters and fantastic language. The plot sustains from start to finish. It deserves every bit of positive attention it's been getting. A great read!
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Adam Mansbach is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Go the Fuck to Sleep, which has been translated into 40 languages, and was Time Magazine's 2011 "Thing of the Year." The sequel, "You Have to Fucking Eat," was published in November and is also a New York Times bestseller.

Mansbach's 2013 novel, Rage is Back, was named a Best Book of the Year by NPR and the San Francisco Chronicle and