ROOTS IN THE SKY by Sidney Meller


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This is scheduled as one of the publisher's big books. Frankly, it seems to me to have well defined limitations which may influence the sale. It is a long -- very long -- chronicle novel, with the theme revolving around the efforts of the rabbi and his wife to keep their family true to the traditions of the Jewish Orthodox faith and unchanged against the impetus of American life. The father is a dreamer and a scholar, and much of the-unique quality of the book lies in the swirling inner politics of the various shuls (synagogues) and of the communities -- his own immunity and spiritual strength. Poverty, wrangles, jealousy and the troubles of his own family cannot touch his inner serenity. Not so with the troubled mother, feeling that each one of her children has failed her. She is the pivot of the story, and a grand piece of characterization. Now for the danger marks. The build-up of atmosphere is accomplished by perhaps more emphasis on the technicalities of the Jewish background than the average non-Jewish reader can cope with. The elders and conservatives in the Jewish faith might want their young people to read this, to learn the significance of the ceremonials, but many of the liberals would sheer away from it. However, it is a powerful book, and may possibly secure the sort of market The Brothers Ashkenazi won -- and more easily, since it is set in a west coast American city. Dealer aids -- posters -- cards --and advertising promised.

Pub Date: Aug. 30th, 1938
Publisher: Macmillan