The Frozen Rabbi: Book summary and reviews of The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern

The Frozen Rabbi

by Steve Stern

The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern X
The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern
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  • Published in USA  May 2010
    384 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

What happens when Bernie Karp, the impressionable fifteen-year-old son of the couple in whose home the rabbi lies frozen, inadvertently thaws out the ancient man? Such are the questions raised in this wickedly funny and ingenious novel by author Steve Stern, who, according to the Washington Post Book World, belongs in the company of such writers as Stanley Elkin, Cynthia Ozick, Michael Chabon, Mark Helprin, and Philip Roth, all of them "innovative and restless practitioners of contemporary American-Jewish fantasy."

When the rabbi comes fully and mischievously to life, Bernie finds himself on an unexpected odyssey to understand his heritage (Jewish), his role in life (nebbish hero), and his destiny (to ensure the rabbi’s future). and the reader enters the lives of the people who struggled to transport the holy man’s block of ice, surviving pogroms, a transatlantic journey (in steerage, of course), an ice-house fire in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and finally, a train trip to the city on the Mississippi.

An epic novel in the spirit of Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Steve Stern's The Frozen Rabbi is a wildly entertaining yet deeply thoughtful look at the burdens inherent in handing down traditions from one generation to the next. 

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Stern ties both narratives together neatly, but the remarkable characters who cart the frozen rabbi through such vividly realized hells on earth deserve a bolder legacy than the banal one they get." - Publishers Weekly

"An ethnic novel with universal implications." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. [A] lovingly irreverent and revelatory novel of the timeless conflict between the sacred and the profane, and the perpetual search for home and meaning." - Donna Seaman, Bookist

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Author Information

Steve Stern

Steve Stern, winner of the National Jewish Book award, is the author of several previous novels and novellas. He teaches at Skidmore College in upstate New York.

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