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Israel Joshua Singer: The Brothers Ashkenazi

(Fiction, 426 pp. Yiddish, 1937; English translation, 1980)

It’s not your grandfather’s shtetl.  This epic novel about the bitter rivalry of twin brothers is set against the development of Lodz, Poland in the late 19th century from a sleepy town into an industrial center.  Family and community relationships are transformed by wealth, social divisions, and the politics of a rapidly changing world.