Among The Living

By Jonathan Rabb

7.5/10
(7.5/10)

298 pages

What’s it about?
Yitzhak (Ike) Goldah, a holocaust survivor,  arrives in Savannah Georgia after the war to meet his distant cousins Abe and Pearl Jesler and resume his life.  We see the thriving Jewish community that the Jeslers live in, and view the distinctions between Reformed Jews and Conservative Jews that the Savannah community hold so dear.  For Ike these distinctions seem trivial.  As he crosses the line between these communities we see how hard it is for people to give up their social norms.
What did it make me think about?
I was really interested in how a holocaust survivor would have viewed racism in the American South after WWII.  What an interesting premise for a book….  The author alludes to this idea, but the love story remains the emphasis of the book.Should I read it?
This book explores some really big themes, yet does so with a light touch.  It is very easy to read, somewhat predictable, and has interesting characters.  At times it read like a play.   It would make a good book club selection as their would be a lot of topics to explore.

Quote-
“‘No, suh, nothing wrong.’  Raymond nodded to himself.  Then, ‘Awful kind of you to give me your hand with Mary Royal, Mr. Ike, but maybe you shouldn’t do that no more.’
Goldah looked at the eyes focused on the road.  If their was anger or resignation in them, Goldah couldn’t see it.
‘Because your black?’
‘Yes, suh.’
‘And I shouldn’t offer my hand to a black man?’
‘No, suh.’
Goldah took a breath and thought, Was it really that easy to land on the other side of things?”

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