Book Review: Among The Living

After surviving the Holocaust, Yitzhak Goldah moves to Savannah to build a new life.  He moves in with the Jeslers, his only surviving relatives, and soon learns life in the American South is very different from any other place and he must tread carefully as there are many lines of distinction: white vs. black, conservative vs. reform, survivors vs. the living.  As he settles into his new home, Yitzhak must learn to find the parts of himself the war tried to erase while also establishing a new, hopeful life.

While I wish some of the characters received a bit more backstory, I thought author Jonathan Rabb did a great job of capturing the nuances of Jewish Savannah.  The Jewish community of Savannah is filled with tons of idiosyncrasies, things I didn’t realize were unique to my small hometown until very recently.  From the friction between the different congregations to the relationship between the Jewish and African American communities to the selective kosher laws – it’s all there, along with the names of people and places I grew up with.

3.5 out of 5 stars.  I wanted to give a higher rating because I really did enjoy it, but deducted points because not too much “happens”.

among the living