Call It Sleep

Call It Sleep

Book - 2005
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When Henry Roth published his debut novel Call It Sleep in 1934, it was greeted with considerable critical acclaim though, in those troubled times, lackluster sales. Only with its paperback publication thirty years later did this novel receive the recognition it deserves----and still enjoys. Having sold-to-date millions of copies worldwide, Call It Sleep is the magnificent story of David Schearl, the "dangerously imaginative" child coming of age in the slums of New York.

Publisher: New York : Picador, 2005
Edition: 1st Picador ed
ISBN: 9780312424121
Branch Call Number: F ROT (Dayson Collection)
Characteristics: xx, 462 p. ; 21 cm


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Feb 09, 2017

I'm not sure what to make of 450+ pages told through the eyes of a 6-8 year old child, with a child's thoughts, a child's understanding and a child's limited understanding.
The story is told in 3 styles:
- the straightforward English style being the parts where people are speaking Yiddish,
- the phonetic dialect parts to supposedly show how difficult it is for immigrants to understand English and
- stream-of-consciousness style of David's thoughts (a child's thoughts).
The phonetic sections were difficult to get through and I didn't find that the three styles melded well. It made the story somewhat uneven.
David is withdrawn, nervous, gets spooked by a look. He's a mama's boy of a kid. This is his story of life in the Lower East Side of New York.

Apr 22, 2016

This novel recounts Jewish immigrant life on the Lower East Side of New York City before World War I from the perspective of an 8 year old boy who gradually breaks away from his doting mother. It is an interesting historic account written during the Depression years.

Apr 03, 2012

I mentioned this title as part of an ongoing review series called "Literary Counterparts."

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