Library JournalThe original Menachem-Mendl, an epistolary novel translated into English in 1969, tells of the adventures of a Jewish everyman, the product of 2000 years of struggle and survival. His schemes, machinations, and hare-brained attempts to overcome the crushing poverty of the time are detailed in letters to his decidedly less optimistic wife, Sheyne-Sheyndl, in Kasrilivka (Aleichem's name for any poor Jewish town in Eastern Europe before World War I). The first volume of his adventures ends when, after much failure, Menachem-Mendl departs for America and a new life. The current epistolary volume, newly translated with great skill, finds Menachem-Mendl in Warsaw after a disastrous stay in America. He has a new job on a Warsaw newspaper, writing of the politics, opinions, and people of the time. His letters to his wife are published in the newspaper, but her sharp-tongued responses (which appear in the book) are not. This delightful romp through the rich Jewish life of Warsaw of the early 20th century also follows the intrigues of a wandering husband. Aleichem, whose characters are household names to generations of readers of Yiddish and world literature, is a consummate storyteller. Highly recommended. Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, MD Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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