THE WINEGLASS: A Passover Story by Norman Rosten

THE WINEGLASS: A Passover Story

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To see the angel Elija enter the house, approach the Passover table, and take up the wine glass reserved for him is unsettling enough; but to have your vision denied as furiously by pious Grandpa as by your non-believing father, who then turns the holiday dinner into a diatribe against the old man's ""foolish stories"" of angels and miracles, is worse. ""To see a thing doesn't prove anything. Belief is what proves,"" Grandpa raves; what's bothering him, one guesses, is that he wasn't the one chosen for the manifestation. And the child, uneasy that he was, is more than willing to convince Grandpa and himself that it was only the curtain he saw. Kids will tune in on Rosten's young narrator right off, as he describes his grandfather (""Sometimes I got the idea he thought he was God"") and the Holidays, when ""the prayers got worse, they didn't stop for days, a whole week, they were all about suffering and miracles."" Friend Jimmy Berkowitz is sure that ""it's all fairy tales, all that stuff""--but on hearing that Father says God's a fake, Jimmy decrees ""Your old man is gonna fry, like a hot dog at Nathan's."" The same old Jimmy reappears at the end--when the narrator tells him about his angel ""dream"" and Jimmy (""He brayed like a jackass"") says only that it's too bad it wasn't a naked lady angel--but it's only Jimmy who hasn't changed; readers will hear him with a different ear. A Passover story told with empathy and humor, illustrated with a klutzy warmth that bears the family stamp (Kaethe's parents are Margot and Herve).

Pub Date: April 15th, 1978
Publisher: Walker