04 April, 2007

If I were a rich man

In the library I randomly picked up Sholom Aleichem's collection of stories Tevye's daughters, the stories that Fiddler on the roof was based on. They're very charming and folksy, and it's noticeable how much has stayed in the musical from the book: there's a passage where Tevye speculates on what he'd do if he was rich which is very close to If I were a rich man.

It's more a collection of short stories than a novel, although through the book we keep coming back to stories about Tevye and his daughters; the rest of the short stories are bits and bobs, some no more than folksy Jewish anecdotes, some really interesting about pre-WWI Jewish life in Eastern Europe. The narrative voice is delightfully chatty and fun. [20]

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