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The Invisible Wall Hardcover – 1 Feb 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 1 Feb 2007
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson; First Edition edition (1 Feb. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091795435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091795436
  • Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,498,040 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

" Harry Bernstein returns home and, magically, takes us with him. With its dancing prose and captivating descriptions of neighborhood life, we experience with the child Harry all the wonder, thrill, and heartbreak of being a working-class kid learning to navigate the balkanized world of Christians and Jews within a single English mill town. Bernstein gives us a people' s history, a street-level perspective on a world that might otherwise have been lost, with crucial lessons that will endure throughout time."
- Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls
" [An] affecting debut memoir . . . When major world events touch the poverty-stricken block, the individual coming-of-age story is intensified without being trivialized, and the conversational account takes on the heft of a historical novel with stirring success."
- Publisher' s Weekly (starred review)

"From the Hardcover edition."

"Harry Bernstein returns home and, magically, takes us with him. With its dancing prose and captivating descriptions of neighborhood life, we experience with the child Harry all the wonder, thrill, and heartbreak of being a working-class kid learning to navigate the balkanized world of Christians and Jews within a single English mill town. Bernstein gives us a people's history, a street-level perspective on a world that might otherwise have been lost, with crucial lessons that will endure throughout time."
-Michael Patrick MacDonald, author of All Souls
"[An] affecting debut memoir . . . When major world events touch the poverty-stricken block, the individual coming-of-age story is intensified without being trivialized, and the conversational account takes on the heft of a historical novel with stirring success."
-Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"From the Hardcover edition." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

An extraordinary portrait of a lost world - powerful, moving and utterly unforgettable... --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. It works on at least four levels: it is a gripping autobiographical account of growing up in a northern town in the early 1900s; it is an intensely moving love story; it hammers home the stupidity of the way we have allowed meaningless religious differences between us to affect the way we treat each other; and it makes us realise that, in this regard at least, we have learned nothing in the last 100 years. I could not put it down ... it is the best read I've had in years.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was fascinated firstly by the age of Harry Bernstein when he wrote this memoir. This intrigued me. Having read it now I can say that I wasn't disappointed. Harry grew up in an impoverished family and at time of great sadness and acute anxiety, yet his spirit shines through it all, and his story is told simply and without any bitterness or mawkishness.A must read! I have already passed it on to my sister to read.
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Format: Paperback
I have just finished reading this book "The Invisible Wall" and found it fascinating.The story strengthens as it progresses. I recognise some of the characters from personal experiences. The book depicts very well the atmoshphere of religious divide and suspicion on either side of the invisible wall between Christians and Jews, brought about in part by the poverty endemic during and after the first world war. The atmosphere in the street in which they live really brings the characters to life.
I have just started the second book, "The Dream" by the same author and hope it gives me as much pleasure as did the first.

BK Glasgow
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harry Bernstein was born in 1910 and this book tells his story of growing up in an industrial town in the North of England. The youngest child, Harry has two sisters, academic Lily and waspish Rose, two brothers, Saul and Harry as well as a loving mother - and a sullen drunk for a father.

The prominent issue in this book is the fact that the street in which Harry and his family reside is divided along religeous lines - Jews on one side, Christians on the other - with next to no interaction between the two sides, despite the similarities of their lives and even their work. Although the grinding poverty in which the family struggle to survive is detailed thoroughly, the individuals in the family are prominent to the story, none more that Lily - whose chance to go to Grammar school on a scholarship hinges on her mother persauding her oaf of a husband to sign a consent form. Sister Rose is discontented with life and sees the hand to mouth existence of her family for what it is - no amount of bravado from her mother will cause Rose to think fondly of her life. Harry follows in the wake of his brothers as they encounter playground battles with the Christian children and day to day insults from adults who should have known better.

There is humour in the book all the same. Harry is a completely innocent go-between for an invalid girl and her would-be beau (the notes you can pass in a bottle of ginger beer!) but love across the religeous divide is more than either side can accept, and, although the first World War causes the women on both sides to mourn their losses together, the barriers cannot be completely torn down.

I am no fan of "misery memoirs" as a style of book but this tale is so gripping, tragic and yet courageous that it is almost impossible to put down.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Was lent this book and also the 2nd book (The Dream). My daughter then bought me a Kindle and I downloaded the same two books to enable me to return the paperbacks to the person who lent them to me.

I was taken immediately with the way Harry Bernstein writes and was hooked with the story. Real life, real people! Am looking forward to reading the second book in due course.

Such a shame that the author died before finishing his third book.

Highly recommended 5*
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was totally gripped by this book. It gave an insight into an era of English history that I had never really given much thought to: a sad reflection on me I fear. The clarity of description made me feel as if I knew these people and lived amongst them - Mr Bernstein's ability to bring you into his story is quite extraordinary and if it hasn't been done/thought of, has the makings of a very good film or, at the very least, a television docudrama. Thank you Mr Bernstein for bringing the past alive in a compassionate, sometimes very amusing and sad way but also in an unsentimental [mushy] way: it was such a pleasure to read and I was sorry to reach the end. I have no hesitation in thoroughly recommending this book and am looking forward to reading The Dream, the second in what I believe is to be a trilogy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Although this book was written fifty years before my time I can still get a full taste of what a Lancashire town was like post and during the war. This book is well worth the read and the followup book that sees the Bernstein family in America is also a great read
Couldn't put either down.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a walk through times past to present for me. The area is the one in which I grew up so recognised many of the landmarks in the book.
What a surprise it was to me to learn that the rooms in which our Sunday School did fetes and pantos had been the ragged school!!
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