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Guest review: The Frozen Rabbi

January 20, 2011

I’m happy to welcome my sister, Karen, back for another guest review.  I think she’s almost done with the books I passed on to her, so I need to send more her way.  These are her thoughts on The Frozen Rabbi by Steve Stern.

Over a hundred years ago Rabbi Eliezer ben Zephyr, the Boibiczer Prodigy goes into a trance lying beside a pond.  While his soul is aloft communing with God a fierce storm suddenly blows in, the pond overflows its banks and the old man’s body ends up frozen beneath the ice of the pond.  Salo Frostbissen discovers the rebbe’s body and he and his descendents become caretakers of the frozen corpse schlepping him from the Old Country to the New World.  Five generations later, Bernie Karp, discovers the family’s “thing,” “white elephant” or “keepsake” hidden under the vegetables and rump roasts in the basement freezer.  Following a power failure the rebbe rises from the dead and Bernie’s life is changed forever.

This book has it all: a girl posing as a boy, a young hunchback inventor, a gangster who commits patricide, a horny teenage boy and a resurrected Rabbi.  This satirical fantasy is certainly imaginative and well written.  The author does a good job of switching between different times and places.  While fantasy is one of my very favorite genres, this book really did not appeal to me.  I found the profuse use of the Yiddish idiom, especially at the beginning of the book to be cumbersome, and I did not appreciate the humor.  I also found the ending to be somewhat disturbing and lewd.

Review copy provided by Algonquin Books.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
24 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2011 6:31 am

    I need to read this one; it’s on my shelf. Thanks to your sister for inspiring me.

  2. January 20, 2011 7:29 am

    I’ve never heard of this but it certainly sounds up my alley! Thanks!

    I send my sister my books I’m done with too!

  3. January 20, 2011 7:52 am

    I’m not sure this would be my kind of book either, although I do think the premise sounds original.

  4. January 20, 2011 8:12 am

    Now that’s what I call a packed house of a plot. Sounds like a freak show of sorts and will most likely stay away from it after reading Karen’s thoughts. Normally I like the uniqueness of plots but this one seems a bit farfetched.

  5. January 20, 2011 8:14 am

    The review had me laughing. It definitely is the kind of book I could laugh at whilst reading.

  6. kaye permalink
    January 20, 2011 8:48 am

    hmmm . . not sure this would appeal to me especially with the overuse of Yiddish idioms ( I would be too confused) and the lewdness would turn me off completely.

  7. January 20, 2011 8:51 am

    I’ve thought about reading this one because of the premise, but the reviews haven’t convinced me. I especially wouldn’t like the “disturbing and lewd” part!!!

  8. January 20, 2011 9:11 am

    Great review, now I’m wondering about the disturbing and lewd ending.

  9. January 20, 2011 9:36 am

    I’m sorry Karen did not enjoy this one all that much. It does sound interesting though. Hopefully, she’ll find luck in the next batch you send her.

  10. January 20, 2011 10:06 am

    Oh, I am sorry to hear that you didn’t like this one. From the sound of the premise it seems like it would be a really unusual and unique read, but I will tale your advice and steer clear of it! Thanks for the great review, Karen!

  11. January 20, 2011 10:57 am

    Oy, another book added to my “to-long-for-comfort” to read list.

  12. January 20, 2011 1:52 pm

    Great review! this really peaked my interest.

  13. January 20, 2011 2:23 pm

    When I reviewed my latest book on shelfari this was a book that showed up as you might also like 🙂

  14. January 20, 2011 2:43 pm

    I love Karen’s review…I know I do not want to venture into this one…double ick…

  15. January 20, 2011 2:52 pm

    Sounds like the best thing about this book is the title.

  16. January 20, 2011 2:54 pm

    Disturbing and lewd? Yikes! Sadly, this is probably right up my alley.

  17. January 20, 2011 3:39 pm

    Karen thank you for your honest review. The title of this book is funny. 🙂

  18. January 20, 2011 4:34 pm

    Another great review by Karen. (By the way, I have a sister named Karen too.) I will definitely pass on this one. A little too weird for me.

  19. January 20, 2011 6:56 pm

    Hmm….disturbing and lewd just don’t work for me. I find all of the different characters extremely strange. Thanks for the great review!

  20. January 20, 2011 9:45 pm

    Disturbing and Lewd, hmmm. I like that sort of thing. My sisters don’t read anything I do, as a matter of fact I don’t know anyone, other than book bloggers who read my kinda stuff.

  21. January 24, 2011 7:22 am

    I’ll be reading and spotlighting this book later in the year — Can’t wait to see if my opinion meshes with your sister’s.

  22. January 24, 2011 6:50 pm

    I’m not sure that this one would work for me either but I might try to page through it a bit and see if it will appeal to me. I’m drawn to such an interesting premise.

  23. January 27, 2011 7:14 pm

    this book has been on my wishlist ever since it got released. i definitely need to go get my hands on a copy of it.

  24. January 30, 2011 6:57 pm

    Thanks for posting the review! I’m not sure I’ll read this although fantasy is my cup of coffee. But one never knows…

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