Everyone in this odd novel about a Jewish family is crippled, sordidly poor, sick or dead. Yet the book manages to be entertaining and even weirdly unny. The Shimansky family lives in perpetual chaos. When the idiot daughter racha kills herself, they refuse to go into mourning but nevertheless gather together.... Barish, the crippled son, in a wheelchair; another daughter with er deaf-mute husband and defective son; and Dad and Ma who are always at war. Self-styled doctor intrudes and tries to persuade them to mend their lives and mourn in a proper manner but he is ousted.... The book is, perhaps, an ingroup arody or fantasy of Jewish family tenement life and the Shimanskys are superlative n their attachment, their frankness, their misery, and their ability to surmount obstacles. They exist wildly, surrealistically, and at the top of their voices and their story has a marvelous energy and a fierce humor.