Coming to America

This book discussion series is sponsored by a grant from the National Yiddish Book Center made possible by a gift from Sharon Karmazin.

Participants will read and discuss the featured titles on the following Thursdays at 1 p.m. in the Greenwood County Library's American Veterans Auditorium. Free copies are available while they last.

 
 
 
Thursday, June 11, 1 pm 
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
by Julia Alvarez

Acclaimed writer Julia Alvarez’s beloved first novel gives voice to four sisters as they grow up in two cultures. The García sisters—Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofía—and their family must flee their home in the Dominican Republic after their father’s role in an attempt to overthrow brutal dictator Rafael Trujillo is discovered. They arrive in New York City in 1960 to a life far removed from their existence in the Caribbean. In the wondrous but not always welcoming U.S.A., their parents try to hold on to their old ways as the girls try find new lives: by straightening their hair and wearing American fashions, and by forgetting their Spanish. For them, it is at once liberating and excruciating to be caught between the old world and the new. Here they tell their stories about being at home—and not at home—in America.                                                                                                                 

Thursday, June 25, 1 pm
Enemies, A Love Story
by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Translated by Aliza Shevrin and Elizabeth Shub
Edited by Elizabeth Shub, Rachel MacKenzie, and Robert Giroux
 
Almost before he knows it, Herman Broder, refugee and survivor of World War II, has three wives: Yadwiga, the Polish peasant who hid him from the Nazis; Masha , his beautiful and neurotic true love; and Tamara, his first wife, miraculously returned from the dead. Astonished by each new complication, and yet resigned to a life of evasion, Herman navigates a crowded, Yiddish New York with a sense of perpetually impending doom.
Thursday, July 9, 1 pm
A Jewish Refugee in New York
by Kadya Molodovsky
Translated by Anita Norich
 
Rivke Zilberg, a 20-year-old Jewish woman, arrives in New York shortly after the Nazi invasion of Poland, her home country. Struggling to learn a new language and cope with a different way of life in the United States, Rivke finds herself keeping a journal about the challenges and opportunities of this new land. In her attempt to find a new life as a Jewish immigrant in the US, Rivke shares the stories of losing her mother to a bombing in Lublin, jilting a fiancé who has made his way to Palestine, and a flirtatious relationship with an American "allrightnik."
 
Thursday, July 30, 1 pm
Motl the Cantor's Son
by Sholem Aleichem
Translated by Aliza Shevrin
 
Motl is the spirited and mischievous nine-year-old boy who accompanies his family on a journey from their Russian shtetl to New York, and whose comical, poignant, and clear-eyed observations capture with remarkable insight the struggles and hopes and triumphs of Jewish immigrants to America at the turn of the twentieth century. Hint: think a younger version of Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn.
 

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