The Golem of Brooklyn: A Novel

by Adam Mansbach

Paperback, 2023

Status

Available

Call number

HV 98000 M286 G6

Collection

Publication

One World (2023), 272 pages

Description

"In Ashkenazi Jewish folklore, a golem is a humanoid being created out of mud or clay and animated through secret prayers. Its sole purpose is to defend the Jewish people against the immediate threat of violence. It is always a rabbi who makes a golem, and always in a time of crisis. But Len Bronstein is no rabbi--he's a Brooklyn art teacher who steals a large quantity of clay from his school, gets extremely stoned, and manages to bring his creation to life despite knowing little about Judaism and even less about golems. Unable to communicate with his nine-foot-six, four hundred-pound, Yiddish-speaking guest, Len enlists a bodega clerk and ex-Hasid named Miri Apfelbaum to translate. Eventually, The Golem learns English by binging Curb Your Enthusiasm after ingesting a massive amount of LSD and reveals that he is a creature with an ancestral memory; he recalls every previous iteration of himself, making The Golem a repository of Jewish history and trauma. He demands to know what crisis has prompted his re-creation, and whom must he destroy. When Miri shows him a video of white nationalists marching and chanting "Jews will not replace us," the answer becomes clear"--… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member yarmando
Art teacher Len awakens The Golem almost by accident. Soon we're embroiled in a tale of Hassidic political power and corruption, and a race to stop The Golem from massacring Proud Boys. This meditation on the history of antisemitism and the meaning of Whiteness and Othering is extraordinarily
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well-written and really quite funny.
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LibraryThing member c.archer
Wow! What a timely topic! This was unexpected but absolutely entertaining. I was a bit skeptical at the beginning (Chapter 1) as to where this book was going, but soon I found myself chuckling and enjoying the crazy journey of Len, Miri, and The Golem and being moved morally at the same time.
There
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is plenty of satirical humor to be had in The Golem of Brooklyn, along with some violence and lots of f-bombs. If this is not your thing, this is not the book for you. The author has a clear moral lesson to tell, but incorporates irreverence to make it entertaining. He did a bang-up job of pointing out the dangers of allowing hate for the "other" to foment and find fertile ground. I found myself reminded of a favorite musical of mine, "The Book of Mormon". I totally recommend this title for anyone who found humor and meaning in this witty but biting show.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review The Golem of Brooklyn. Adam Mansbach, kudos and bravo!!
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LibraryThing member brianinbuffalo
[3.75] Kudos to Mansbach for inventively walking a tricky tightrope that employs dark humor to address issues that include antisemitism and white supremacy. In an interview with Ideastream Public Media, he noted that he uses humor to “get people to the table to talk about things that might
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otherwise be too thorny, too complicated, too scary or just forbidden by the culture.” (You might recall the author’s bestselling satirical book titled “Go the F*** to Sleep.”) Mansbach’s latest book traces centuries of Jewish folklore at a nearly frenetic pace. In the interview cited earlier, he noted that he aimed to use his short comic novel to “toggle back and forth between the past and present.” This toggling task is only semi-successful. Given the book’s brevity, and the complexity of some golem legends, the folklore history lessons don’t always seamlessly mesh with the offbeat plot. A cautionary note: some readers will undoubtedly be turned off by the book’s tone and crass verbiage. That being said, “The Golem of Brooklyn” is both entertaining and enlightening.
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LibraryThing member sparemethecensor
Great first half including accurate Hasidic insights. Then it becomes basically a road trip novel with a golem? Kinda lost me. Wasn't quite as funny or satisfying then.

Language

Physical description

272 p.; 8 inches

ISBN

059372982X / 9780593729823
Page: 0.1472 seconds