Page 145 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 35

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BENTON / THE WORLD OF CHARLES ANGOFF
135
have religion in it. A feeling tha t comes from another
world, from the Almighty. Tha t 's what makes a holiday
beautiful, warm, makes you feel good for being a human
being. Everybody needs holidays. Jews need them more.
These two Jewish people, you were telling me about, for
them, too, I feel sorry. Not going to
shul!
How can a Jew
live tha t way? I t ’s a day without any sun, a whole week
w ithout any sun.
In creating the saga of the Polonsky family, Charles Angoff
has rendered a unique service to the understanding of the Jew­
ish experience in America. T he ten volumes in the saga will soon
be followed by an eleventh,
Toward the Horizon
(due to be
published in 1977), and a twelfth is already in the hands of
the publisher—and Angoff is deep into the thirteenth volume.
The story of the Polonskys continues to unfold from the turn
of the century up to our own times.
Angoff is prolific. He is fascinated by the interaction of his
characters on the rapidly changing American scene. I t is re­
markable how expertly and succinctly he is able to capture the
totality of American Jewish life. His books are not ephemeral.
They make an enduring contribution to the understanding of
the immigrant Jewish life in its adaptation to the disturbing
and complex American scene. Angoff writes easily and fluently.
His characters move and talk and develop with authenticity.
The absorbing story moves rapidly and the reader’s interest
never flags. He has a deceptively simple style. The erudite
words, the compound, confusing sentences, the recondite mean­
ings are not for him. His own spiritual involvement is apparent,
and possibly this saga is so appealing because it all happened
to him. Alte Bobbe lives forever. David Polonsky creeps into
your hearts, and these fictional characters become more real
than our next door neighbors.
I confess I am puzzled that the theatrical people on both the
legitimate stage and on the screen have not seized upon this
saga. The magnificent material would be stunning as a TV
serial. In its way, adapted skilfully, it could rival “The For­
syte Saga,” and why not? T he Polonsky Saga would be a cul­
tural and rewarding addition to TV viewers exactly as i t is a
cultural, rewarding, and enriching reading experience.