Synopses & Reviews
Persea's 25th anniversary edition of this classic of twentieth-century American literature. More than 250,000 copies sold.
Set on New York's Lower East Side during the 1920s, this is the moving story of a young woman's struggle to free herself from the traditional female role in an Orthodox Jewish family and society. Sara Smolinksy, the youngest daughter of a rabbi, watches as her father marries off her sisters into dire circumstances, and she vows to escape this fate. She leaves home, takes a job as an ironer, and rents a room with a door: "This door was life. It was air. The bottom starting-point of becoming a person." Sara's rebellion and her struggle for self-fulfillment for education, work, and a marriage based on love resonates with a passionate intensity all can share.
In this new edition, the original text is retained; the introduction is updated; and a new foreword is added describing the discovery of this important work and the relationship with Yezierska's daughter that followed.
"One of the authentic and touching testaments of the struggle of Jewish immigrants, especially Jewish women, to find their way in the new world." Irving Howe
"Through profuse and perceptive dialogue, Anzia Yezierska brings to life a heritage whose strength, wisdom, and idiom continue, seventy years later, to enrich North American culture and language." Jesse Larsen, 500 Great Books by Women
'The classic novel of Jewish immigrants, with period photographs.\n
About the Author
Anzia Yezierska (1889-1970), a Polish Jewish immigrant, wrote about "her people" the Jews of the Lower East Side in an autobiography, short stories, and novels, many published by Persea.
Alice Kessler-Harris, a women's and labor historian, is on the faculty of Columbia University.