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In 1940s Brooklyn, friendship between an 11-year-old Irish Catholic boy and an elderly Jewish rabbi might seem as unlikely as, well, snow in August. But the relationship between young Michael Devlin and Rabbi Judah Hirsch is only one of the many miracles large and small contained in Pete Hamill's novel. Michael finds himself in trouble when he witnesses the 17-year-old leader of the dreaded Falcons gang beating an elderly shopkeeper. For Michael, 1940s Brooklyn is a world still shaped by life in the Old Country, a world where informing on a fellow Irishman is the worst crime imaginable--worse even than the violent crimes committed by some of those fellows. So Michael keeps silent, finding solace in the company of Rabbi Hirsch, a Czech refuge whom he meets by chance. From this serendipitous beginning blossoms a unique friendship--one that proves perilous to both when the Falcons catch up with them.
Interlaced with Hamill's realistic descriptions of violence and fear are scenes of remarkable poignancy: the rabbi's first baseball game, where he sees Jackie Robinson play for the Dodgers; Michael's introduction into the mystical world of the Cabbala and the book's miraculous ending. Hamill is not a lyrical writer, but he is a heartfelt one, and this story of courage in the face of great odds is one of his best. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In Brooklyn in 1947, Michael Devlin, an 11-year-old Irish kid who spends his days reading Captain Marvel and anticipating the arrival of Jackie Robinson, makes the acquaintance of a recently emigrated Orthodox rabbi. In exchange for lessons in English and baseball, Rabbi Hirsch teaches him Yiddish and tells him of Jewish life in old Prague and of the mysteries of the Kabbalah. Anti-Semitism soon rears its head in the form of a gang of young Irish toughs out to rule the neighborhood. As the gang escalates its violence, it seems that only being as miraculously powerful as Captain Marvel?or a golem?could stop them. Strongly evoking time and place, Hamill (Piecework, LJ 12/95), editor of New York's Daily News, serves up a coming-of-age tale with a hearty dose of magical realism mixed in. Recommended for most public libraries.?Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, Andover, Mass.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
On and on it goes about race, religion and, of course good and evil. Forget this and spend your money on anything by Steinbeck.Published on Jan. 4 2004 by Hua Foley
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to get lost in Brooklyn, circa 1947. There is some fantasy involved towards the end that perhaps might not seem plausable at... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2003 by Writingdawg
An enjoyable and sweet story. There are few storytellers as engaging and talented as Pete Hamill. This book harkens back to an earlier time where people of different backgrounds... Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2003 by Erkle
I agree with the reviewer above who thought the book was great except for the last 40 pages.
Pete Hamill is a great writer and writes vividly about a young Catholic boy who... Read more
It is hard to describe this book. It is beautifully written. Pete Hamill has a terrific narrative style, a strong ear for character and dialogue, and a fertile imagination, all of... Read morePublished on May 6 2003 by Richard E. "Nick" Noble
The major theme of the book is about the hardship of standing out. Like snow in august, we must all learn to make our differences affect the lives of others. Read morePublished on April 25 2003 by Geniya O.
This book, about a boy living a rough life in New York is truly touching. The way the main character met the rabbi was so realistic it's scary. Read morePublished on April 11 2003
Wonderful story, wonderful descriptions of 1940's Brooklyn, and I finished the book thinking of what a wonderful movie it would make - and I am much more a reader than a moviegoer... Read morePublished on Feb. 12 2003 by Bonnie
I picked up this book and could not put it down. This
is the finest novel I have read in years.