This wonderful book is tells the tale of a young Catholic graduate with a love of language who finds himself the custodian of a library of Yiddish texts. He finds himself drawn into the story of Itsik Malpesh, the self-proclaimed greatest Yiddish poet in America. The book unfolds along two timelines, gradually merging together at the end into one seamless story. Itsik's love for Sasha, the butcher's daughter he believes is his bashert provides the main thread to both the narrative and his entire life.
I was drawn completely into this novel that traces the often dark experiences of an Eastern European Jew who ultimately immigrates to the US. The story was compelling, the characters engaging, and the denouement exciting. Manseau's use of Yiddish was masterful and the language of the novel overall was lyrical. I highly recommend this book.