Songs for the Butcher's Daughter

Songs for the Butcher's Daughter

by Peter Manseau
4.3 6


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Songs for the Butcher's Daughter by Peter Manseau

In this acclaimed fiction debut, "a rich, often ironic homage to Yiddish culture and language" (Publishers Weekly), Peter Manseau weaves 100 years of Jewish history, the sad fate of an ancient language, and a love story shaped by destiny into a truly great American novel.

In a five-story walkup in Baltimore, nonagenarian Itsik Malpesh—the last Yiddish poet in America—spends his days lamenting the death of his language and dreaming of having his memoirs and poems translated into a living tongue. So when a twenty-one-year-old translator and collector of Judaica crosses his path one day, he goes to extraordinary efforts to enlist the young man’s services. And what the translator finds in ten handwritten notebooks is a chronicle of the twentieth century. From the Easter Sunday Pogrom of Kishinev, Russia, to the hellish garment factories of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Itsik Malpesh recounts a tumultuous, heartrending, and colorful past. But the greatest surprise is yet to come: for the two men share a connection as unlikely as it is life-affirming.

With the ardent and feisty Itsik Malpesh, Peter Manseau has created a narrator for the ages and given him a story that will win over readers’ hearts and keep them turning pages long into the night. Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter is a literary triumph.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416538714
Publisher: Free Press
Publication date: 06/09/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 819,419
Product dimensions: 5.52(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.97(d)

About the Author

Peter Manseau, the author of the nonfiction works Killing the Buddha and Vows, lives in Washington, D.C. This is his first novel.


Charlottesville, Virginia

Date of Birth:

November 15, 1974

Place of Birth:

Washington, D.C.


B.A., University of Massachusetts, 1996

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Songs for the Butcher's Daughter 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this first novel by Peter Manseau (author of non0fictional work "Vows"). The research that went into this must have been extensive. I enjoyed Manseau's style of writing and character development. It received rave reviews at my recent book club meeting, I would highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Novel is about a Christian translator of Yiddish material. One of the Yiddish writers has a memoir that intrigues the translator. Translator weaves his translation issues with the facts of the Yiddish writer. Some great descriptive scenes of a print shop and NY for immigrants...not as good in painting pictures of characters. My book club liked the book more than I did.
Florida-Mark More than 1 year ago
Fiction often provides a better feel for and understanding of history than do historical tomes. Peter Manceau's masterful book traces the journey of Itsik Malpesh from the shtetl to contemporary America with incredible flair. Chagall painted his recollections of his childhood home town, Vitebst. Manceau's canvas is the written word and is just as powerful as the paint brush, maybe even more so. I was sweating reading his depiction of the program during which little Itsik was born. His journey to America, the love story, the agonies all exude a Yiddishkeit not felt since Issac B. Singer. You may ask, how did a gentle develop such an understanding of the language and culture? A must read for those fascinated by our old-world culture and the journey to the new world of contemporary America.
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