Book pak Jewish Contemporary Classics 2001
CS ISBN 1893079090 $34.95 Four cassettes
Polish-born Yiddish novelist Sholem Asch (1880-1957) provoked controversy with his first international success, God of Vengeance, a play about a Jewish brothel keeper. He stoked it again with a series of novels treating Christianity's origins with sympathy. That these works had didactic, political themes eluded, and continues to elude, Asch's detractors. The moving KIDDUSH HASHEM (1918) is no less didactic; it's a kind of cautionary historical tale warning against leaving one's fate in the hands of an elite class. For so doing, according to him, contributed to the pogroms in seventeenth-century Ukraine, here seen through the experiences of an innkeeper and his family. The package calls this novel "brilliantly crafted," whereas less generous critics might deem it craftily manipulative. Be that as it may, George Guidall emphasizes the author's strengths, making the most of Asch's verbal portraiture and landscape painting. Further, Guidall imbues the narrative with authenticity, the sense that he has seen and heard these events firsthand. Asch did his homework in researching this book, and so did Guidall. Y.R. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2002, Portland, Maine [Published: APR/MAY 02]
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