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Synopsis

Set largely among the Jewish community of inter-war New York City, this is a beautifully-told collection of scenes from Morgenstern’s life. The tricky ground of writing the advice column for a provincial Yiddish daily; successes during, and hard times after, the Depression; a position at the top of his craft as a labour specialist in the New York City Yiddish press – these and many more form a portrait of “a fundamentally decent man in morally perplexing situations”. “I’ve been working on a series of stories about the character I call “my father” – loosely based on my own father – for about 30 years…I wondered if I could use the character in other situations. [One] story had begun with a spark of truth – a story my father had told many times about a foolish man he’d once known – and the spirit of my father. “All the stories in the series walk that precarious tightrope between memoir and fiction…“I worked hard, with the stories’ structure and a sort of old-fashioned expository style, to make them feel like memoir – like truth.”

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