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Publisher's Summary

A remarkable debut novel - written with the fearless imagination of Michael Chabon and the piercing humor of Gary Shteyngart - about a small Jewish village in the Polish forest that is so secluded no one knows it exists...until now.

What if there was a town that history missed?

For decades, the tiny Jewish shtetl of Kreskol existed in happy isolation, virtually untouched and unchanged. Spared by the Holocaust and the Cold War, its residents enjoyed remarkable peace. It missed out on cars, and electricity, and the internet, and indoor plumbing. But when a marriage dispute spins out of control, the whole town comes crashing into the 21st century.

Pesha Lindauer, who has just suffered an ugly, acrimonious divorce, suddenly disappears. A day later, her husband goes after her, setting off a panic among the town elders. They send a woefully unprepared outcast named Yankel Lewinkopf out into the wider world to alert the Polish authorities.

Venturing beyond the remote safety of Kreskol, Yankel is confronted by the beauty and the ravages of the modern-day outside world - and his reception is met with a confusing mix of disbelief, condescension, and unexpected kindness. When the truth eventually surfaces, his story and the existence of Kreskol make headlines nationwide. 

Returning Yankel to Kreskol, the Polish government plans to reintegrate the town that time forgot. Yet in doing so, the devious origins of its disappearance come to the light. And what has become of the mystery of Pesha and her former husband? Divided between those embracing change and those clinging to its old world ways, the people of Kreskol will have to find a way to come together...or risk their village disappearing for good.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2020 Max Gross (P)2020 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Lost Shtetl

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A very touching story

This story captured my interest as a Jew who has grandparents from Eastern Europe (Poland and Romania) and having spent my childhood listening to stories of their youth, the horror of the holocausts and the fear that every non Jew will eventually turn of “us” was a huge part of my upbringing.
The tone of the narrator was pleasant and calming as the story unfolded.

The story itself was told in a classic Yiddish style, where the narrator speaks to the reader directly apologizing for sharing intimate parts of the characters lives or before telling of an unfortunate event.

I was disappointed by the end of the story
I was hoping for a happy ending,and I found myself annoyed that the author had the power to change the fate of the characters I grew to love but chose to instead end the tale much like a classic Shalom Alechem tale of sorrow and unfortunate fate of Jews.

This book made me miss my grandmothers Yiddish sayings and simple cooking and feel a renewed connection to my roots.

I did read on some reviews that the narrator was mispronouncing some of the terms but to clarify he actually was using the accent of Polish jewelry which is different than other types of Jews and the accents on the words are slightly different, his were in fact quite accurate to this region

1 person found this helpful

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A Good Read

Pretty much ruined by a bad reading. It could have been an excellent reading but is severely marred by a typical Audible problem. Virtually every non-English word is mispronounced. Stage and film actors consult coaches but evidently not Audible readers. As a result this very good and sometimes serious story becomes at best comic and at worst jarring.

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THE WORST ENDING

Horrible ending. unrealistic. sorry I bot book. would not reċomend to anyone. waste of time.

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Annatevka, meet Brigadoon

The reading began a bit too cutesy for my taste, as if Max Gross was channeling his interior Sholom Aleichem. But once he got into the story itself, Gross engrossed me! As well as being an engaging saga of romance and revenge, of coming of age and modernity through an heroic quest, the book brings up an intriguing proposition: How would individuals, and society, deal with a newly discovered isolated population, almost completely oblivious to the contemporary world? Well done.
PS: Mr. Cohen, the Audible performer, did a credible job, thank you. But to my ear, his Polish pronunciation was better than his Yiddish!

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Wonderful book!

This is a wonderful book that gives you great insight into the Jewish and Polish history and culture. I would highly recommend it.