Author Paul Goldberg is known for absurd and highly unusual stories. And that is what we were hoping for when we started reading (or listening to) The Yid. And we are happy that we chose to listen to it rather than read it. This dramatic historical fiction is meant to be heard or seen being enacted. Here is our review of the book.
The Yid attempts to mix the reality of the past with fiction. The year is 1953 when Stalin, the Soviet politician and revolutionary, dies. In connection with the death, a Jewish theatre actor, Solomon Shimonovich Levinson, is arrested. The actor, an old man, hatches a plan to get the ruler out of the way through unbelievably shocking events.
The author has beautifully and intelligently collaborated the world of history and that of Shakespeare. Yes, the novel has glimpses of the great poet’s stories. There’s a mad king, a machine gunner, a young, vivacious woman with revenge in her heart.
The Yid is very moving, funny, violent and intellectual. It is full of tragedy with doses of laughter sprinkled here and there. Author Paul Goldberg who has also written The Château, another tragicomic, could well be regarded as the Shakespeare of today.
The writing by Paul Goldberg is a little hard to understand because of his usage of 3 languages- English, Russian and Yiddish. He also has the habit of writing long structured sentences, which further complicates the writing. So we found reading the book isn’t as fun as hearing it is.
The Audio Narration
We thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story through the crisp narration of Peter Berkrot. Seeing that he had a tough job narrating this gripping novel with its huge amount of diverse characters, he did a brilliant job. His narration is directly infused with little emotions where required. He never goes overboard with his emotive tone and lets you get immersed in the story convincingly.
The Yid (MP3 CD) gets 3.5/5 stars from us for its imaginative story and excellent narration by Berkrot. This audiobook is recommended for those who are fans of historical fiction and love Shakespeare’s theatrical stories. If you understand Russian and Yiddish, you might want to read this book. In any which way, this novel is a treat for lovers of these genres.