Summary and book reviews of Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman

Kaaterskill Falls

by Allegra Goodman

Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman X
Kaaterskill Falls by Allegra Goodman
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 1998, 324 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 1999, 324 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Goodman's deft sense of character brings alive an appealing and engrossing cast, fleshed out by nuances of place and time.

In Kaaterskill Falls, Allegra Goodman, author of The Family Markowitz turns her pen to the intimate details of a close-knit Jewish summer community in the Catskills. Goodman's deft sense of character brings alive an appealing and engrossing cast, fleshed out by nuances of place and time.

The synagogue is crowded with men, and warm despite the November chill outside. When Isaac arrives for services on Friday evening, he sees neighbors and friends all clustered together in the entryway. The Kollel students are coming in from the little chapel where they study. Dressed alike in their rumpled black suits, carrying their great black-bound books, they pass through the crowd into the main sanctuary where the older men are arriving, businessmen coming from downtown, the storekeepers from the neighborhood, the retired grandfathers. Young and old mix together, and their languages mix: English and German, a little Hebrew, a little Yiddish. Isaac does not notice the mixture; he grew up with it, and he understands all the languages equally.

"Did you hear that the Rav is holding his office hours again?"

"No, I didn't know."

"He's holding them on Tuesdays again."

"The same hours?"

"Yes. Of course, he's limiting his visitors, but baruch hashem, he&...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!


The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of Allegra Goodman's Kaaterskill Falls. We hope they will enrich your understanding of this wonderful novel of faith, families, and ancient tradition--a story of passionate love and passionate conflict that confirms Goodman as one of the singular writers of her generation.

It is the summer of 1976. In the beautiful country of upstate New York lies Kaaterskill, a tiny town where Jewish Orthodox summer people and Yankee year-rounders live side by side from June to August. Elizabeth Shulman, mother of five daughters, needs a project of her own outside her cloistered community. Across the street, Andras Melish cannot ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

People Magazine

Like the late Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, Goodman wrings ineffable strands of passion from the quietest of hopes and disappointments. It is a carefully observed and haunting world.

People Magazine

Like the late Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, Goodman wrings ineffable strands of passion from the quietest of hopes and disappointments. It is a carefully observed and haunting world.

The New York Times Book Review.

There are times when one wishes for some passion--some unholy mess or some desperate humor--to erupt from the pages, but the darker impulses are not what interest Goodman. Indeed, she prefers the broad strokes of a panoramic view to the fine shadings of character. Her truest talent is for imposing a shape on the little, everyday disturbances that distract most of her writing peers; she has an almost 19th-century ability to create a sense of linkage, of one existence impinging on the next.

Wall Street Journal

Allegra Goodman is a prodigy. . . .She writes with such winning grace, such deftly evocative intimacy of detail.

Wall Street Journal

Allegra Goodman is a prodigy. . . .She writes with such winning grace, such deftly evocative intimacy of detail.

Reader Reviews

Katerine T.

Great read
Surprised to find that there are no other reviews for this book. I really enjoyed Kaaterskill Falls. I felt that the character development was fantastic- I felt a lot of sympathy for the sisters. I learned a lot about the more conservative ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Kaaterskill Falls, try these:

  • Bridge of Sighs jacket

    Bridge of Sighs

    by Richard Russo

    Published 2008

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Bridge of Sighs courses with small-town rhythms and the claims of family. Here is a town, as well as a world, defined by magnificent and nearly devastating contradictions.

  • The First Desire jacket

    The First Desire

    by Nancy Reisman

    Published 2005

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Set in Buffalo, New York in the 1930s and '40s, The First Desire is a book of great emotional power that brings to life the weave of love, grief, tradition, and desire that binds a family together.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Immortalists
    The Immortalists
    by Chloe Benjamin
    On a summer day in 1969 in New York City, the Gold children agree to seek out a mysterious ...
  • Book Jacket: The Kites
    The Kites
    by Romain Gary, Miranda Richmond Mouillot
    Published by New Directions for the first time in English, Romain Gary's The Kites tells a story of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Kites
    The Kites
    by Romain Gary, Miranda Richmond Mouillot
    Published by New Directions for the first time in English, Romain Gary's The Kites tells a story of ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Hearts of Men
    by Nickolas Butler
    Set mostly in the woodlands of north Wisconsin, Nikolas Butler spins a familial saga that explores ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

A story that is at once quirky, charming, heartbreaking, suspenseful and poignant.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Days When Birds Come Back
    by Deborah Reed

    A graceful testament to endurance, rebuilding, and the possibilities of coming home.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Driest Season

Win One of 50 Copies of This Exceptional Debut!

A deeply affecting story of loss, heartache, and—finally—hope.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A J O A Thousand M B W O S

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.