Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE RABBI IN THE ATTIC by Eileen Pollack

THE RABBI IN THE ATTIC

And Other Stories

By Eileen Pollack

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1991
ISBN: 0-671-74260-4
Publisher: Delphinium

 A fine debut collection, some stories of which have appeared previously in slightly different forms. Though Pollack writes often from a Jewish perspective, she is concerned more with underlying universal truths than with any particular sectarian position. Her characters, usually women of intelligence and ambition, are infused with moral intelligence that makes them especially receptive to the insights they receive as they go about their lives. In the title piece, a young woman rabbi of firm new ideas and reforming zeal learns tolerance for tradition as she must share her home with an old orthodox rabbi who begins to realize that his own zeal might have been responsible for his wife's death. In two separate but connected stories, ``Neversink'' and ``Hwang's Missing Hand,'' a woman remembers the summer she worked in an insurance business and had an affair with her school history teacher--the significance of which she understands only later in life (only then ``did my errors bring sorrow that couldn't be recalled''). ``Past, Future Elsewhere,'' a Pushcart-winner, recalls the events of Woodstock, a time when the narrator, a local teenager in love with astronaut Neil Armstrong, together with her parents, helped some of the young crowd. It was a time when ``we believed that we could get elsewhere simply by wishing as hard as we could.'' Never sentimental or simplistic, these low-key stories, written with a contemporary flair and humor, are a rich blend of moral and artistic sensibility.