Books: Jewish Mark Twain

THE GREAT FAIR (306 pp.)—Sholom Aleichem—Noonday ($3.75).

This is an appealing little autobiographical sketch, now published in English, by a writer who was as close to the folk stream of East European Jewish life as blintzes and borsch. In countless stories (The Old Country, Adventures of Mattel) he humorously chronicled the bittersweet life of the late 19th-century eastern ghettos—pious, self-contained, but poised on the brink of a new Diaspora to Western Europe and America. Born Solomon Rabinowitz, and raised in the little village of Voronko, Russia, the hero of The Great Fair is a "pretty boy with fat...

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