The Invisible Wall
By (author) Harry Bernstein
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Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein
Book DescriptionHarry Bernsteins' childhood in the industrial north of England in the shadow of the First World War is one of hardship and hostility. His brutish father spends what little he earns at the tailoring shop on drink, while his devoted mother survives on her dreams: that new shoes might secure Harry's admission to a fancy school; that her daughter might marry the local rabbi; that one day they might all escape this grinding poverty for the paradise of America. "The Invisible Wall" is a wonderfully vivid portrait of a lost world - a story of working class life and the daily struggle to make ends meet, of young Harry's growing awareness of social divides and divided loyalties, and his fears for his adored elder sister Lily, who is risking all by pursuing a forbidden love...
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780099504283
(198mm x 129mm x 21mm)
Imprint: Arrow Books Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Nov-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Harry Bernstein
Dream, Paperback (May 2008)
The dream of escape to America carried Harry's mother through the harsh years of poverty in a bleak, industrial mill town in the north of England as the First World War raged. This book presents the story of the Bernstein family's struggle to settle in Chicago and the devastating impact of the Depression.
Invisible Wall, Paperback / softback» View all books by Harry Bernstein
A wonderfully charming memoir written when the author was 93, "The Invisible Wall" vibrantly brings to life an all-but-forgotten time and place. Bernstein offers a moving tale of working-class life, and of the boundaries that can be overcome by love.
US Kirkus Review » A debut by a nonagenarian who recalls a Romeo-and-Juliet story involving his older, Jewish sister and a Christian boy from across the street.Bernstein demands that readers suspend more than disbelief; they must also disengage all skepticism, all critical thinking. His memoir offers no specific dates (we know only that we are in the era of World War I), no documentation, no photocopies, no way for an interested (or dubious) reader to verify any of this story. And what a story. When he is four years old, living in a Lancashire mill town, the author serves as a sort of Huck Finn intermediary, carrying secret love messages between two local lovers (Jewish girl, Christian boy). The author's father is a sort of Pap Finn, too - drunken, sullen, occasionally violent. When his daughter wins a scholarship, he goes off on a rant about education and drags her by the hair to the tailor's shop where she must labor beside him. The author's mother, by contrast, is archetypal - patient, hardworking, loving, forgiving. When he is 11, the author discovers that his sister, Lily, is secretly meeting with her forbidden boyfriend, Arthur - and that they are planning to elope. He goes along with them, then returns later to inform his family. All in the neighborhood - Christians and Jews - are angry. But then Lily has a baby; there is a block party for the new arrival, and the little child unites the residents. Two things that trouble: (1) much of the story is presented in verbatim dialogue, including, when the narrator is ten, a long debate about Socialism at the dinner table; (2) the author is always where he needs to be. A neighborhood suicide? He's there. Key letters from Mom to relatives? He writes as Mom dictates.Seems less a memoir, more an autobiographical novel. Caveat lector. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Harry Bernstein
97-year-old Harry Bernstein emigrated to the USA with his family after the First World War. He has written all his life, but started writing THE INVISIBLE WALL following the death of his wife of 67 years, Ruby. He lives in Brick, New Jersey.
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