Quirky characters and their antics enliven Goldman’s collection of short stories set in New York City.
In the mid-1900s, a time when luxuries included a refrigerator and a telephone, memorable characters filled New York City’s streets as they fled World War II and its aftermath in Europe. Goldman presents slices of life via men and women who cautiously navigate this foreign city with trepidation and ultimately success. As his characters settle in tenements, summer in the Catskills and retire in Florida, the author reveals the world of Jewish New York circa 1950. Emotions run high in “The Way it Was” as Leona Grant fights for the chance to attend college, insisting she wants to be more than just a wife and mother, shocking her traditional parents. While Leona tries to achieve her dreams, other dreams are deferred in “The Making of Eddie Bazinski,” a story featuring a young boy determined to turn his high school baseball success into a career—until, that is, he discovers girls. In “When Comic Books Were Legal Tender,” a friendly bet results in a young boy wagering all of the furniture in his apartment—until his mother comes home. Tragic family news from overseas devastates a young boy’s 10th birthday in “My Haunted Heart”; the boy says, “On that frenetic day when I believed my life was beginning...my mother realized her parents’ lives were coming to an end.” Writing in a straightforward, easy-to-read manner, Goldman delivers charming tales of confusion and dawning realization. Each story captures a moment of humor or reflection as the characters stumble their way through misunderstandings and weaknesses. Funny, poignant and thoughtful, this collection captures New York and its denizens at their best.
A variety of tales, ranging from comical to bittersweet, encapsulating another era in New York City.