Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Old Country by Mordicai Gerstein
I read The Old Country on the recommendation of one of my students. I have to admit it's an original story and I quite liked the ending. I won't spoil it here, but suffice it to say I liked how the ending wasn't nice and sweet.
The story begins with the Great-Grandmother Gisella arriving for a visit and gifting the narrator with her violin. She then proceeds to tell a story of her life in the old country, how she escaped from the war there and how she used to be a fox. The rest of the book is Gisella's tale. It's a mixture of fairy tale and family lore.
I really started out liking The Old Country much better than when I finished it. The prologue has a fabulous hook to engage the reader, but then the story slows way down and at times is boring and tedious. Fans of traditional tales or re-tellings of those may find The Old Country entertaining, but I think most will be bored and leave it for something else. Saved by the hook in the beginning and the "difficult" ending, I give it a 'C.'