Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman

Kaaterskill Falls (1998)

by Allegra Goodman

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6411615,089 (3.58)30
  1. 00
    Intuition by Allegra Goodman (womansheart)
    womansheart: This is another brilliant book by Allegra Goodman. The setting is "Academia". Wonderfully written and thoughtful story about love, scholarship and ethics.

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Goodman writes a beautiful tale of the discordance at Kaaterskill Falls of Orthodox Jews and the non-orthodox, the summer visitors and the year-round residents, the young and the old. Using the family of old Rav Kirshner; the struggle between him and his sons, she successfully captures the complex intensity of deep-seated feeings between couples, families and the community.

Many key characters struggle with their identites, place in the community, and in the larger world. Goodman points directly to those in orthodox families and communities as suffering the most severe and painful introspection. They question their faith against powerful frustration and anger, and how they reconcile their emotions to reach decisions about their future.

Well-planned and written. Great read! ( )
1 vote Bookish59 | Jan 6, 2017 |
Just rearead this and liked it much more the second time. Add a star. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
Donated, unread.
  JFGABCIK | Feb 17, 2016 |
Highly recommended - a sympathetic portrayal of a way of life that is unfamiliar to many of us. ( )
  DowntownLibrarian | Jun 10, 2012 |
i feel like I am still chasing my first Allegra Goodman high of Intuition.

My thoughts on Kaaterskill Falls are a little mixed. I loved the setting - I thought Goodman gave a great sense of place in the Catskills and also back in the city. The writing was good - definitely a step up from most writers. The plot was where this novel fell short. Is it possible for there too be just not enough plot but way too many storylines? That is how I felt about this story.

There are 2 major stories to follow in this book - they both march along at maddeningly slow speed with very little dramatic tension. Then - there are about a dozen (at least!) small stories that are thrown in and alternated through. With so many characters to keep track of and story lines to keep straight reading this book became somewhat of a chore.

I will still read Goodman - i think she is one of the better contemporary writers out there (and she lives one town over from me!) - despite the awards it won - it fell short for me. ( )
1 vote alanna1122 | Sep 1, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Friday afternoon, Edelman's Bakery in Washington Heights is like the stock exchange--paper numbers strewn across the floor, everybody shouting orders: "Give me two! Seedless! No, make that four."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385323905, Paperback)

Allegra Goodman's remarkable first novel intertwines the stories of three Orthodox Jewish families, each of whom is tugged between religious tradition and the secular world. The story takes place in the upstate New York town of Kaaterskill, summer Mecca for the tightly knit Kirshner sect. Model wife and mother Elizabeth Shulman pictures her community as a sort of Mont-Saint-Michel, an island both joined and separated from the outside world as if by rising and falling tides. Fascinated with what lies on the spiritual mainland, she hides behind the reassuring rhythms of religious observance, though she's inspired with a "desire, as intense as prayer," to create something all her own.

Despite her pious husband's doubts, she does, in the form of a store catering to Kaaterskill's "summer people"--a community Goodman brings memorably to life. The Shulmans' neighbor Andras Melish, a Hungarian who fled World War II and a vanished world of assimilated European Jewry, struggles to understand his young Argentinian wife Nina, whose need for tradition grows with each passing year. The ailing Rav Kirshner must decide which son will carry on in his shoes: dutiful but plodding Isaiah or his brilliant but secular brother Jeremy. Andras and Nina's daughter befriends an Arab girl, while Elizabeth and Isaac's daughter dreams in secret of Israel. Meanwhile, the town's year-round residents observe the Orthodox newcomers with bewilderment and occasional dismay.

As she proved in a warm and funny 1996 collection of stories, The Family Markowitz, Goodman is an unparalleled observer of human nature. Here, she charts with quiet assurance the daily rhythms of Kaaterskill: the meals prepared and eaten, the Holy Days observed, the ebb and flow of married life. Goodman gets all the important details right; her children's dialogue, for instance, is unerring. Above all, however, she brings to the subject of religious life a seriousness and subtlety rarely found in recent fiction. Wise was the word used again and again to describe The Family Markowitz. Applied to Kaaterskill Falls, it is no less apt.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:46 -0400)

Explores the lives of three Orthodox Jewish families spending the summer of 1976 in Kaaterskill, a small town in upstate New York, including two refugees from the Holocaust and a rabbi nearing the end of his life

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
67 avail.
5 wanted
2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.58)
1 1
2 12
2.5 2
3 40
3.5 7
4 45
4.5 7
5 16

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,170,846 books! | Top bar: Always visible