Bociany ($29.95; Oct.; 432 pp.; 0-8156-0576-5) Polish-born novelist Rosenfarb’s impressive urban epic was first published in the 1970s in three separate volumes later collectively entitled The Tree of Life. That trilogy, which won a major Yiddish literary prize, is now available in two volumes (see below) in the author’s own vibrant English translation. The first half tells a vivid story of life in a shtetl in the title village during the years immediately preceding WWII: specifically, it’s a dramatization of the ethnic and religious traditions that form the characters of its winning protagonists, gentle Yacov and his beloved Binele. But the trilogy’s great character is Binele’s resourceful mother Hindele Polin, a crafty widow whose hard-earned wisdom and plucky survival skills make her a worthy successor to the villager heroines of Sholom Aleichem’s fiction.