By Chaim Potok
Amazon.com assessment Potok, renowned for his novels of Jewish kin existence equivalent to *The Chosen*, turns to nonfiction in *The Gates of November*, a wrenching family members chronicle with a riveting old undercurrent. the tale of the relatives patriarch, Solomon Slepak, spans many of the ebook: ignoring his mother's want that he develop into a rabbi, Slepak emigrated at thirteen to the US, grew to become a Marxist in ny, lower back to struggle within the Russian Revolution, and rose to prominence in the Communist get together. yet whereas Solomon remained a confident Bolshevik, his son Volodya rejected socialism while anti-Semitism emerged in the course of Stalin's period. Disowned through his father, Volodya was once later exiled to Siberia as a dissident. the tale of the Slepaks is concurrently the tale of Soviet Jewry and the increase and fall of the Soviet Union. From Publishers Weekly Novelist Potok (The selected) offers right here the heritage of a relations of Soviet Jews founded at the courting of dad and son. Solomon Slepak used to be an old-guard Bolshevik who by no means misplaced his religion within the party?and survived the Stalinist purges miraculously and mysteriously (Stalin exterminated just about all outdated social gathering members). His son, Volodya, grew up believing within the get together yet, as he married and began elevating a family members, got here to question the Communist approach and at last turned a refusenik, a dissident who protested brazenly opposed to the regime. the writer met Volodya and his spouse, Masha, in 1985 whereas on a visit to Moscow. This compelling account, that is additionally a chronicle of the Soviet dissident flow, highlights the heroism, and sacrifice, of these who withstand the facility of a totalitarian nation. (Nov.) FYI: The identify comes from a line of poetry by means of Aleksandr Pushkin. Copyright 1996 Reed enterprise info, Inc.
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There was no American Communist movement in the United States until September 1919, when the first manifesto of the Communist Party of America prematurely proclaimed the demise of capitalism. But there were circles where one could talk about the war and the tsar, about capitalism and Marxism, about the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, about the strikes of previous years—cloakmakers’ strikes, cigar makers’ and hatmakers’ strikes, children’s strikes, bakery strikes, meat and rent strikes—and engage in heated debates with anarchists and socialists, plan a union meeting, a demonstration, a strike, a parade, and anticipate the revolution in America.
We turned onto a shoveled path, a murky whitish corridor between heaped-up mounds of snow. Ahead stood a towering apartment building. ” He unlocked the front door. We entered a dark foyer and began to climb barely visible stairs. The place had the air of an old New York tenement, but with no vivid sounds of life drifting out from behind closed doors. Here you wanted to walk on tiptoe, expecting a sudden leap out of the violet shadows by figures demanding to know what you were doing there. At the top of the staircase, a corridor.
The aura of sanctity given the table by the blessings left everyone wordless for a moment. A Shabbat meal was clearly not a commonplace occurrence in the lives of these Soviet Jews. The dinner, I remember, consisted of a salad of cooked beets, potatoes and onions, and steamed white fish with cabbage and carrots. And small poppyseed cinnamon cookies. And tea. And much conversation. Adena and I talked about the origins of our families in Russia. Escape had been the theme of their lives: my great-grandfather and his flight to Poland to avoid conscription and twenty-five years of army service under Nicholas I; Adena’s father and his flight from Nicholas II to elude arrest for participating in Zionist activities.
The Gates of November: Chronicles of the Slepak Family by Chaim Potok