A cacophony of zesty, feisty, eccentric voices resounds throughout this entertaining collection of(mostly comic) monologues that the Yiddish master composed during the years 1901-16, many of which have not previously been translated into English. They're entreaties, variously addressed to doctors, rabbis, and other eminences (and, in one case, to Aleichem himself); emotional declarations of the daily tribulations of getting by, getting married, and keeping the faith. It's best to read only one or two at a time, but anyone who loves Fiddler on the Roof (and who doesn't?) will respond to the earthy humanity of Aleichem's wily matchmakers, elusive bachelors, and exhausted, indomitable housewives and matriarchs. A funny and life-affirming work.