Salome Of The Tenements Review

In 1923, Anzia Yezierska, a Jewish immigrant from Eastern Europe published her third novel, Salome Of The Tenements.

It is the fictionalized story of Yezierska’s contemporary, Rose Pastor Stokes, who married the older and Christian JG Phelps Stokes. Weaved into this novel is the author’s failed relationship with John Dewey.

Sonya Vrunsky is a Jewish emigrant originally from Eastern Europe. She joins many of the immigrants of that time, residing in the Lower East Side.  She is working for a newspaper and is sent to interview John Manning. John Manning is a native born, Protestant philanthropist who is eager to extend a helping hand the lower, working classes.  They are attracted to one another, but their differences may tear them apart.

It’s been wanting to read this book for a few years. What I didn’t expect and didn’t like was that the characters were too stereotypical for me. Sonya, in her need to attract John and keep him interested in her, is almost mercenary in her task.  The other characters within Sonya’s world are very much what one thinks of a Jewish stereotype.

Do I recommend this book? Only if your interest is New York City in the early 20th century and the emigrant denizens of the Lower East Side. If not, then I would recommend to find another book to read.

 

 

 

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