Abandoned by his mother, eight-year-old Avrum Leib is left dependent on the charity of poor Jews. Drifting away, he lives in the sewers of Lodz, joining a bizarre netherworld of prostitutes, thieves and wandering Jews. Poland on the verge of World War II, in social turmoil, is depicted pungently and ironically. The underclass has a single weapon against aggression, destitution and abuse – vulgar, trenchant humor. It is this quality which gives Avrum-Leib’s odyssey its infectious charm.
A genuine novel, tender and scandalous, poetic and cruel, whose picturesque, superabundant, over-populated style, has real charm.
Le Figaro Litteraire
There is primal beauty and wicked humor, with the qualities of both Bashevis Singer's devils and Babel's Odessa, but unlike either one.
English translation available (for publishers only)