Small Worlds: A Novel

Allen Hoffman

Published by Abbeville Press, 1996
ISBN 10: 0789201291 / ISBN 13: 9780789201294
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Synopsis: Small Worlds, the first volume in Allen Hoffman's critically acclaimed series Small Worlds, takes place in 1903 and introduces the wondrous rebbe of Krimsk—a small Hasidic settlement in Eastern Europe. Secluded in his study for the past five years, the beloved rebbe suddenly emerges on the eve of Tisha B'Av, the holiday for commemorating the destruction of the holy temple in Jerusalem. His congregants are overjoyed to see him, but their joy is to be short-lived, for this holiday at the dawn of the twentieth century will be marked by strange and momentous events that will change their lives forever.

Small Worlds is the first in a series of novels concerning the people of Krimsk and their descendants in America, Poland, Russia, and Israel. In each volume Allen Hoffman draws on his deep knowledge of Jewish religion and history to evoke the "small worlds" his characters inhabit.

Echoes of Jewish literary tradition can be heard in Small Worlds, especially the mystical realism of Isaac Bashevis Singer and the poignant humor of Sholom Aleichem, on whose tales Fiddler on the Roof is based.

From the Back Cover: The little town of Krimsk is about to observe Tisha B'Av, the calamitous day of mourning marking the destruction of the ancient holy Temple in Jerusalem. The beloved rebbe has mysteriously emerged from years of seclusion, and the Krimskers, thirsty for guidance, seek the wonder-working rebbe's saintly advice throughout the night. The encounters prove to be comic, sober, and wise, as arson, adultery, romance, seduction, and violence sweep through Krimsk and into the Polish town of Krimichak across the river. In Krimichak dwells Grannie Zara, the rebbe's rival for power. The women of Krimsk have always secretly crossed the river to consult her, and on this fateful night, one determined woman and one curious boy from the primary class urgently feel the need to visit her. The relationship between the two towns, always uneasy, is in danger of igniting. Back in Krimsk, the rebbe and his wife discuss a groom for their only daughter, and the rebbe summons the man he has chosen. But a different young man, a stranger swept up in the revolutionary ferment stirring all Russia, stops for a while at the Angel of Death, the empty, cursed synagogue. It is he who will face the angry mob from Krimichak as it crosses the bridge into Krimsk with consequences that will affect and astound everyone.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Small Worlds: A Novel
Publisher: Abbeville Press
Publication Date: 1996
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good
Edition: 1st - may be Reissue.

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