'Blisteringly funny, extraordinarily moving, revelatory.'
- Tony Kushner, from the Forward
SPANNING TEN YEARS AND TWO CONTINENTS, and set in the colourful world of the Yiddish theatre at the close of the nineteenth century, Wandering Stars is an epic love story by the creator of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. When a traveling Yiddish acting company arrives in the Russian shtetl of Holeneshti, Reizel, daughter of a poor cantor, and Leibel, son of a rich man, fall under its spell. Together they run away to become entertainers themselves, and then tour separately around Europe, ultimately reuniting in New York. Suffused with the whimsy and wistfulness that are the hallmarks of the Yiddish humorist Sholem Aleichem, Wandering Stars is an engrossing romance, a great New York story, and an anthem for the magic of the theatre.
'Fascinating . . . Fun and funny.'
- Harpers Magazine
'Clearly the invention of a gifted storyteller . . . Freshly and lucidly translated.'
- Los Angeles Times
'This romantic epic captures, with whimsy and pathos, the experience of the Jewish diaspora at the beginning of the twentieth century.'
- The New Yorker
TRANSLATED FROM THE YIDDISH BY ALIZA SHEVRIN
FOREWORD BY TONY KUSHNER
NEW AFTERWORD BY DAN MIRON
"An uproarious, sprawling masterpiece by a grand Yiddish storyteller. . . . This mischievous, compassionate, and chaotic story . . . is big, broad, and a little bawdy, a rough-and-tumble group of stars, starmakers, and wannabes. . . . If Jane Austen had been a Russian-Jewish wiseguy born in the 19th century, instead of an English Protestant smarty pants born in the 18th, she might have been Sholem Aleichem-and she might have written Wandering Stars. . . . This is the Big Apple Circus of novels, and Sholem Aleichem is a ringmaster with chutzpah."
--Amy Bloom, O: The Oprah Magazine "Blisteringly funny, extraordinarily moving, revelatory . . . Wandering Stars is a great novel about theater, an invaluable account of the Jewish theater of the diaspora, but it's equally a brilliant exploration of liberation's outrageous, tumultuous motion through human society and the human soul."
--Tony Kushner, from the Foreword
"Fascinating . . . Fun and funny . . . Wandering Stars, brought skillfully into a gentile tongue by Aliza Shevrin . . . allows Sholem Aleichem to set up all kinds of dramatic near misses and gives him room to indulge in his comic talent for sketching quick portraits of all kinds of Jewish stock characters, from the sainted mother to the scavenging pimp."
"Freshly and lucidly translated . . . Wandering Stars is clearly the invention of a gifted storyteller [and] is a wistful reminder of why Sholem Aleichem achieved celebrity in his own day. . . . A century-and-a-half after the birth of its author, the publication of Wandering Stars is both an act of homage to the author and a source of rare pleasure for a new generation of readers."
--Los Angeles Times
"This romantic epic captures, with whimsy and pathos, the experience of the Jewish diaspora at the beginning of the twentieth century."
--The New Yorker
"A story full of joy and the kind of provocative, rich theater that Kushner calls 'emancipatory magic.' "
"This book is special. . . . Well worth reading, even savoring and re-reading . . . The supporting cast of characters is masterfully drawn. . . . They are brimming with life. . . . Sholem Aleichem has us convinced that life without laughter is no life. . . . A delightful book."
--Theodore Bikel, Moment Magazine
"If you liked Fiddler on the Roof, you're bound to love the first full translation of Wandering Stars."
--The Boston Phoenix
"Engaging . . . Sholem Aleichem's genius was to turn the very humility of Yiddish into a literary strength, [and] Wandering Stars is a significant part of Sholem Aleichem's oeuvre. . . . [Its] satirical glimpses of the world of Yiddish theater . . . are one of the novel's chief pleasures."
"In Sholem Aleichem's hands, the Yiddish theater becomes the stage for a story of the quintessential Jewish experience."
"Masterfully translated . . . Highly recommended."
--Library Journal, starred review
"Aliza Shevrin's translation of Wandering Stars belongs to the rarest of all literary forms: it's a real mechaye!"
--Michael Wex, author of Born to Kvetch and Just Say Nu