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Harry Kaplan's Adventures Underground
     

Harry Kaplan's Adventures Underground

by Steve Stern
 

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Harry finds himself transplanted from staid and steady Brooklyn in the 1930s and discovers a world that eclipses anything that the Scarlet Pimpernel or Captain Horatio Hornblower could conjure before his inexperienced eyes. His life of excitement is predominantly lived between his ears.

Overview

Harry finds himself transplanted from staid and steady Brooklyn in the 1930s and discovers a world that eclipses anything that the Scarlet Pimpernel or Captain Horatio Hornblower could conjure before his inexperienced eyes. His life of excitement is predominantly lived between his ears.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in waterlogged Memphis during the great flood of 1939, this yeasty, vibrant novel spins an unusual variation on the Huck Finn theme. For 15-year-old Harry Kaplan, recently transplanted from Brooklyn to Memphis's teeming Jewish ghetto, working in his father's pawnshop is a bore. So bookish, comically awkward Harry hooks up with two orphaned black twins, wise-guy Lucifer and his tagalong mute brother Michael. In scenes of almost hallucinatory power, renegade Harry and the twins navigate flooded Beale Street, exploring brothels, cabarets, a wrecked steamboat and the stereotypes each culture harbors toward the other. When he's not hanging out with his ``forbidden friends,'' Harry copes with his well-heeled, shady Uncle Morris, cantankerous Grandpa Isador, and with his attraction toward his mousy cousin Naomi. In Harry, Stern ( Lazar Malkin Enters Heaven ) has found a rambunctious narrator who infuses this delightful, wry tale with moments of hilarity and a slew of apt Yiddishisms. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Stern's ability to sustain his young protagonist's sense of wonder and innocence is the most remarkable aspect of this engaging coming-of-age novel. Poverty uproots 15-year-old Harry's family from the Brooklyn of the 1930s to the Jewish ghetto in Memphis. In Memphis, Harry teams with black twins Lucifer and Michael, and together they share the adventures of pawn shops, abandoned steamboats, rail cars, houses of ill repute, and a flood that places a large segment of Memphis underwater. Stern is a gifted storyteller who manages a portrayal of poverty, loss, and exile that is never self-conscious, sensational, or without the sense that his characters are struggling to survive as well as find meaning in their lives. His work is witty, charming, and, at times, heartbreaking: `` `He ain't white,' he was sorry to have to inform the gambler. `He Jewrish.' '' Highly recommended.-- Joseph Levandoski, Free Lib. of Philadelphia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781937854133
Publisher:
Dzanc Books
Publication date:
06/11/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
225
File size:
433 KB

Meet the Author

Steve Stern’s fiction, with its deep grounding in Yiddish folklore, has prompted critics such as Cynthia Ozick to hail him as the successor to Isaac Bashevis Singer. He is the author of critically acclaimed books such as Isaac and the Undertaker’s Daughter, winner of the Pushcart Writers’ Choice Award; The Wedding Jester, which won the National Jewish Book Award; The Angel of Forgetfulness, one of The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2006; and The North God. Stern currently lives in Balston Spa, New York, and teaches at Skidmore College. 

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