Saturday, November 12, 2011

Review: Reuben Sachs, by Amy Levy

Pages: 148
Original date of publication: 1888
My edition: 2001 (Persephone)
Why I decided to read: it was the book that was being read for Persephone’s September Thursday teatime reading group
How I acquired my copy: the Persephone shop, September 2011

Reuben Sachs is the story of a young man living in the heart of a large, conservative Jewish family in 19th century London. This was the book that was discussed at the September teatime reading group, and I didn’t expect to like it all that much. I don’t read very much Jewish fiction, so this book was a little out of my comfort zone; but I enjoyed Amy Levy’s descriptions of the family and Reuben’s relationship with Judith, a childhood friend he’s in love with but can’t marry. I thought Amy Levy was a little harsh on Jewish culture and traditions, and she was a little heavy-handed with the “tribe” theme. But in all, I thought this was a really interesting look into one family in 19th century London. Amy Levy was on 27 when she wrote this, and committed suicide just the year after, so you really wonder what she was thinking when she wrote this.

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