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Snow in August (1997)
by Pete Hamill
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446675253, Paperback)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.
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:15 -0400)
In Brooklyn in the late 1940s, adolescent Michael Devlin is a dutiful son to his widowed mother and a conscientious altar boy at the parish church. One day, he meets Rabbi Judah Hirsch, a chance encounter that inaugurates a friendship with vast consequences, good and bad, for both of them. Michael lost his father in the war, and the rabbi, a recent immigrant to this country, lost his wife. The threads of their connection widen and strengthen as the rabbi endeavors to teach Michael about his native Prague and Jewish customs and lore, and the boy, in turn, instructs the rabbi about things American, including baseball. But Michael's awakening does not stop there; sadly, he learns hard lessons, to the point of bodily harm, about anti-Semitism. In fact, Michael must turn to extreme measures to effect a resolution to the problem of hatemongering; using his new storehouse of knowledge, he summons a golem! The friendship of a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic altar boy in 1940s Brooklyn. The rabbi, a Czech who fled the Nazis on the eve of World War II, teaches the boy Judaism while the boy, who is Irish, teaches the rabbi English and baseball. When anti-Semitic hoods attack the rabbi the boy goes to his defense. By the author of A Drinking Life.
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