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Thursday, March 24, 2016

#13 - The Invisible Wall - Harry Bernstein

Title:  The Invisible Wall
Author:    Harry Bernstein
Read by:  John Lee
Genre:  Biography
Rating:  B+
Published:  2007
Dates:  3/11/16 – 3/24/16
Cds/Hrs:  8/9.5

Set in pre-WWI Lancashire, England, Harry Bernstein and his Jewish family and other Jewish families live across the street from the Christians.    Day after day, Harry, youngest of five, and his family live a working-class life, experience social divide and forbidden love.  The narrow lane on which Harry grows up appears identical to countless other working-class English neighborhoods – except for the invisible wall that runs down the middle of the street, dividing the Jews from the Christians.  The geographical distance may be yards, but socially, it is miles.  Families on either side do not speak or meet.  But when Harry’s older sister, Lily, falls for Arthur, the boy across the street, Harry becomes a go-between for the lovers, crossing the great divide to keep the secret.  When the truth inevitably comes out, Harry has to decide, at the tender age of eleven, what he believes to be morally correct.
In the epilogue Harry and his wife, Ruby, go back to Manchester to locate the house he grew up in.  It’s a poignant moment when he meets one of the neighbors and learns the tragedies that have occurred during the years of his absence.  It was a tearful book for me at the end but joyous in an earlier moment.

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