Author: Henry Roth
Areas Featured: Lower East Side
While many buildings in the Lower East Side have been keenly preserved, and places like the Tenement Museum keep the history of a neighborhood known for so long as "The Jewish Lower East Side" in our cultural consciousness, the LES of today is a totally different animal compared to what it once was.
It's no secret that the 1960s saw a transformed Lower Manhattan, first home to down-and-out artists before giving way to themed bars and luxury condos. In less than a century, the neighborhood has transformed from a ghetto to a haven for the slumming stylish and chic.
Call It Sleep is the story of families coping with repressed emotions and deeply held secrets as they struggle to make a new life in America. It's the story of a boy exploring both sides of faith: sin and cleansing. It's a story whose home is, as the New York Times once put it, "the city gutter and the tenement cellar." It's a story alien to the Lower East Side of today, unless you head to the Tenement Museum or pick up a used copy of this book on the racks of a trendy book store. —BG