Beyond the Pale: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
CDN$ 0.89
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Our books ship from the USA and delivery time is 2 to 3 weeks.  Minimal damage to cover and binding. Pages show light use. With pride from Motor City. All books guaranteed.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Beyond the Pale Paperback – Aug 7 2003


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Paperback, Aug 7 2003
CDN$ 64.84 CDN$ 0.88

2014 Books Gift Guide
Thug Kitchen, adapted from the wildly popular web site beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow ("This might be my favorite thing ever"), is featured in our 2014 Books Gift Guide. More gift ideas

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought



Product Details

  • Paperback: 406 pages
  • Publisher: Raincoast Books; 2nd edition (Aug. 7 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 155192613X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551926131
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #489,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Elana Dykewomon's Lambda Award-winning novel Beyond the Pale announces itself to the world with an infant's scream--"a new voice, a tiny shofar announcing its own first year." The midwife attending this birth is Gutke Gurvich, a half-Jew with different colored eyes and a gift for seeing into the spirit world. Beyond the Pale is Gutke's story, detailing her odyssey from a Russian shtetl to a comfortable Manhattan brownstone. But, as Dykewomon puts it, "Whenever you tell the story of one woman, inside is another," and this rich, multilayered novel is also the story of Chava Meyer, the baby girl Gutke delivered that day, as well as the story of the important women in both of their lives: mothers, sisters, neighbors, lovers, friends. After seeing her mother raped and killed during a particularly vicious progrom in her native village of Kishinev, Chava immigrates to America. There, on Manhattan's Lower East Side, both she and Gutke find themselves involved in the nascent labor union and suffrage movements. Dykewomon has clearly done her research here, and Beyond the Pale presents a beautifully detailed account of life among turn-of-the-century immigrant Jews, from classes at the Henry Street Settlement House to the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Through the lens of several lesbians' lives, Dykewomon draws a portrait of an entire Diasporan community living through the terror and uncertainties of both Russian progroms and life in the New World. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The pale was a marker outside the Russian towns where Jews were forced to live, but neither separation nor integration protected them from pogroms, which continued into the 20th century. Into this world, midwife Gutke delivers baby Chava in 1889. They meet again after emigrating to New York City, when Chava is a young adult. Dykewomon, author of the classic Riverfinger Women (1974), has written a page-turner that brings to life turn-of-the-century New York's Lower East Side, with its teeming crowds, its sweatshops, the Henry Street Settlement House, and events like the Triangle Shirtwaist Company fire. Chava becomes active in the Women's League and is confronted with its racism and anti-Semitism. Gutke, married to a woman who passes as a man, shows Chava (and today's readers as well) one way that women made their lives with other women in the pre-Stonewall era. Infighting and lack of vision among progressive groups, immigrants torn between assimilation and preserving the traditions that define them?these issues are as pressing today as they were a century ago, and they are well portrayed in this historical fiction. Recommended for all collections.?Ina Rimpau, Newark P.L., N.J.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
One of the most wonderful, beautiful books I have read in the last 20 years. The author has woven a lovely, touching -- and yet, horrifying -- chronicle of Jewish life in the Pale of Settlement in Russia and the tenements of New York in the late 1890's and early 1900's. Some of the language simply takes your breath away. Ms. Dykewomon's command on the language is so outstanding I found myself stopping at sentences and marveling at what she had written. Obviously exquisitely researched, Beyond the Pale makes daily life in primarily rural Russia come alive: with all its beauty and all its horror. I have read no finer, more human-oriented account of a pogrom -- and this is an area of historical interest to me. Ms. Dykewomon's characters do not find the "Golden Streets" of the new world when they migrate to New York. Instead, they discover numbing poverty, bedbugs and rats they were hardly used to in the "old country" and the dehumanization of their lives by the factories and take-home piecework which were necessary for mere survival. The author shows these poor souls as the human beings they are and does a truly outstanding job of detailing how the love, kindness, wants and needs of such people can survive amid terrible conditions. Beyond the Pale is a song; it is a lament. While the major characters and author are lesbians, it would be inappropriate to characterize Beyond the Pale as lesbian literature. For those who would be offended and refuse to read this book because of that, it is your great loss. Read this book and cry when you finish. Both for what happens and because there are no more pages to read. I hope the author, who has published other works, will return to the general theme (or a sequel) in the future. She writes historical fiction at its best.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
This is perhaps the best novel I've read in years -- and I'm a college literature professor, so I read a lot. I'll admit that I'm a Jewish lesbian, so the book has tremendous personal resonance for me. But this is a novel that should greatly affect anyone who cares at all about women's history, the Jewish experience in America, the history of the labor movement -- or, for that matter, fine contemporary writing.
I disagree with the earlier reviewers who characterize the book as either flat or overwritten; I can only imagine that as the reaction if you were looking for a hot but not-too-taxing lesbian romance. This is a different kind of book. There is love between women in this book--quirky, believable, and heartbreaking--but it is not a book that makes the drama of what happens in a couple the entire world. This is love immersed *in* the world. I found the book richly and elegantly written, with excellent depth and insight into the main characters. Elana Dyke! womon is also a fine poet as well as a novelist, and this comes through not only in the verse fragments within the book but also the way it circles around a number of recurrent, evocative images. Anyway, I cannot recommend enough that you take the time to immerse yourself in this finely-crafted, large-spirited, woman-centered novel.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
Format: Paperback
This 404 page book, is somewhat overwritten, but does give an exceptionally good and detailed look at Russian Jewish life in the 1800's.
The book begins in the first person, telling part of the story of Gutke a midwife, and lesbian. We get a flashback of when Gutke was a young girl, and how she and mother survived following the death of the husband---who was not the father of Gutke, as her mother was raped.

Gutke has one black eye and one gold-flecked eye, which makes her unusual. She has a bit of gypsy blood in her, and sometimes seems to be able to see the future of certain babies she delivers.

As a child, Gutke, and her mother surive thru the kindness of a woman who owns and runs a Jewish bathhouse in a small Russian town.

There Gutke discovers the lesbianism of two of the patrons of the bathhouse. Later she goes and lives with one of the women, only as a friend, and thru her, meets Dovida.

Dovida is a lesbian woman who has disguised herself as a man.

She and Gutke continue this, coming to America eventually where they live as husband and wife.
However, Dovida and Gutke's relationship is never examined in much detail. Nor are we ever privy to Dovida's youth and her experiences.
Or how Dovida manages to get away with her disguise, and how it went for her entering the country of America disguised as a male. The fact this is not examined was disappointing to me as a lesbian reader.

Featured more prominently in the book is Chava Meyer, and her cousin Rose. Chava's story begins when she is quite young, and it is some time before any lesbian romance or exploration of the lesbian side of her nature is explored or discussed at all.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
By Tricia Cerone on April 15 1998
Format: Paperback
Wow, what a great book. The story is quite captivating. It was interesting to me how the main character's lives ended up inter-twining. Not only was the story interesting but it gave you a peek at the atrocities that went on in Russia in the late 1800's and in America in the early 1900's. It makes you think, well it made me think, how far we have come as a nation and how far we have yet to go. I think the author focused not only on lesbian relationships but also on women as a whole. The relationships between Mothers and daughters, between Fathers and daughters, the relationships between women in general and the lot in life that women seem to perpetually get, each of these things added up to make the book as interesting and as appealing as it was. I cannot recomend this book enough. Whether you are a lesbian or not or whether you are Jewish or not, if you are a woman - this book is a MUST read.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.

Most recent customer reviews



Feedback