|About the Book|
ONCE UPON A DROSHKY is the story of Yankel Rabinowitz, a retired Yiddish actor, who is evicted with his friends by Farbstein the landlord and Yankels son, Irving the lawyer, from an ancient tenement on the lower East Side. It is a warm and gayMoreONCE UPON A DROSHKY is the story of Yankel Rabinowitz, a retired Yiddish actor, who is evicted with his friends by Farbstein the landlord and Yankels son, Irving the lawyer, from an ancient tenement on the lower East Side. It is a warm and gay novel, strongly plotted and stippled with the brilliantly evocative memories and flashbacks of Yankels extraordinary life as an actor during the golden years of the Yiddish stage and as a bon vivant, lover, and hero in the face of all adversities - large and small, tragic and comic.Yankel, one of the most memorable and fully imagined fictional characters of recent years, is both participant and observer, actor and commentator. He speaks a rich, poetic language, full of the rhythms of both American and Yiddish. He understands and loves his dying world and compels the reader to share it with him by the force of his own penetrating vision.ONCE UPON A DROSHKY is also the story of Pincus the poet and his twenty-five year feud with Yankel, of Tillie Moskowitz, of Mendel the merchant and Morris the musician, of Schmimmel and Schmulka, of the two widoes, Lena and Mrs. Susman, of Benya the Torch and Fishbien the gangster. The novel is lighted up by these characters involved relationships in humorous and memorable scenes, none more comically pitiful and moving than the reconciliation of Yankel and Pincus toward the end of the book.ONCE UPON A DROSHKY is at the center of a long tradition of European-Jewish and American-Jewish storytelling. It is one of those rare creations - both serious fiction and delightful entertainment - and presents in Jerome Charyn a new writer of not only great promise but of real achievement.