Tanner Stransky
March 16, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Invisible Wall

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Harry Bernstein
publisher
Ballantine
genre
Memoir, Nonfiction

We gave it an A-

The dueling halves of the street where Harry Bernstein grew up in WWI-era northern England shared little — besides paralyzing poverty and religious fervor. Jews stayed to one side, Christians to the other. As he tells it in The Invisible Wall, the divide was mired in tradition (”Clogs are for batesemas,” Harry’s Jewish mother told him) and class (the Jews were tailors, the Christians mill workers). Mixing was limited to gossip among housewives. But the fragile truce ripped when Harry’s sister and a Christian boy fell for each other. Writing his first book at 93, Bernstein expertly taps the turbulent essence — and quirky details — of the cobblestoned street of his youth. A-

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