An extraordinary portrait of a lost world - powerful, moving and utterly unforgettable...
Harry Bernstein was born into a world of hardship and suffering in a northern mill town, in the shadow of the First World War.
His brutish father spends what little he earns at the tailoring shop on drink, while his devoted mother survives on her dreams - that new shoes might secure Harry's admission to a fancy school, that her daughter might marry well, and that one day they might all escape this grinding poverty for the paradise of America.
But as the years go by, life for the Bernsteins on their narrow cobbled street remains a daily struggle to make ends meet. For young Harry though, most distressing are his fears for his adored elder sister Lily, who is risking all by pursuing a forbidden love...
“An exceptional book”
“A compelling narrative of childhood survival ... the tale has a freshness, a vitality and a relentless energy ... extraordinarily powerful. The Invisible Wall is a triumph of the human spirit over multi-faceted adversity.”
“Extraordinary ... spare, uncomplicated, and terribly vivid for it”
“[A] heart-wrenching memoir ... the setting, beautifully rendered, recalls early DH Lawrence. It is a world of pain and prejudice, evoked in spare, restrained prose that brilliantly illuminates a time, a place and a family struggling valiantly to beat impossible odds. As an emotional experience and a vivid retelling of the author's past, it exerts uncommon power.”
New York Times
“A remarkable memoir ... vivid, compassionate and notably unsentimental”
Times Literary Supplement
“[An] affecting debut ... the nonagenarian gives voice to a childhood version of himself who witnesses his older sister's love for a Christian boy break down the invisible wall that kept Jewish families from Christians across the street. Yet when major world events touch the poverty-stricken block, the individual coming-of-age is intensified without being trivialized, and the conversational account takes on the heft of a historical novel with stirring success.”
“A fascinating, poignant story ... which leaves one with a sense of hope”
William Woodruff, author of The Road to Nab End
“A superb story ... A delightful, fascinating read which held me spell-bound throughout.”
Billy Hopkins, author of Our Kid