Monday, August 18, 2008

The entertainer and the dybbuk by Sid Fleischman

Shortly after World War II, in Vienna, Austria, an American soldier seeks work as a wandering ventriloquist. The Great Freddie, as he is known, is not a very good ventriloquist, for he can’t even talk without moving his lips. But things change quickly when, one dark night, his wooden dummy is possessed by a dybbuk, a Jewish spirit, who in real life was twelve-year-old Holocaust victim Avrom Amos. Avrom is a smart-alecky ghost and he quickly takes over the Great Freddie’s act, telling jokes and forcing changes to the act and to Freddie himself. Soon Freddie is wildly famous, and audiences crowd in to see him and the dummy. But it quickly becomes clear that Avrom has a deeper purpose than just entertaining the war-wearied populations, as he seeks revenge on the Nazi officer who killed countless Jewish children, including himself.

This book is a very quick read, but will leave you chilled and stunned. A one-of-a-kind book, for sure.

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