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Abraham Cahan

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .As the spectacle caught Jake's eye his heart gave a leap. He violently pushed his way through the waltzing swarm, and dived into the half-dark corridor of the house whence the music issued. Presently he found himself on the threshold and in the overpowering air of a spacious oblong chamber, alive with a damp-haired, dishevelled, reeking crowd—an uproarious human vortex, whirling to the squeaky notes of a violin and the thumping of a piano. The room was, judging by its untidy, once-whitewashed walls and the uncouth wooden pillars supporting its bare ceiling, more accustomed to the whir of sewing machines than to the noises which filled it at the present moment. It took up the whole of the first floor of a five-story house built for large sweat-shops, and until recently it had served its original purpose as faithfully as the four upper floors, which were still the daily scenes of feverish industry. At the further end of the room there was now a marble soda fountain in charge of an . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Abraham Cahan, author of "Yekl" and other stories, was the editor and
founder of the "Jewish Daily Forward". In these stories of life among
the turn of the century immigrants in New York, he gives us many insights
into the problems these newcomers faced as they were torn between two
very different cul

I really liked this, mostly because of the way it portrays the Lower East Side at the turn of the century. You really get a sense of how it was. I also liked the themes it explored - tradition vs modernity.

The endings of these short stories are all tragic, and they all revolve around romance. In ge

So poignant! Each story reminded me of the old Jewish saying about us making plans and G-d laughing.

So happy I had to read this book for a class. Somehow I thought these stories of the lives of Jewish immigrants in the US at the beginning of the 20th century would be saccharine but quite the opposite. We see characters whose lives are transformed in unexpected and sometimes shocking ways. The last

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