A LOST PARADISE by Samuel Chotzinoff


Email this review


A Jewish-American biography of the pianist-music critic emphasizes the conflicts of an alien background in a new country as the author tells of his orthodox life in Russia and America. Poverty was the cause of their emigration and their goal was Passaic, New Jersey. But somehow they turned up in London where, after a year, they were able to make their way to the United States. It was in New York City's lower East Side that the boy had his start, in the tenements, the public schools and on the streets. Economic crises called forth his mother's best improvisations; the question of marriages for the girls was serio-comic; there was a deep enmity between his parents over the children of his first marriage. A temporary bit of prosperity in Waterbury, Conn., introduced him to the ways of Christians; the return to New York confirmed him in his choice of music and changing teachers and methods and new experiences filled his life. It was working in the Educational Alliance that introduced him to Franko and through him his chance for his first concert. This, while having much in common with Behrman's The Worcester Account in its recall of immigrant life, does not match it in polish or intensity and offers in their place a stockier portrayal of Jewish life.

Publisher: Knopf