Jewish Cowboy

Isaac Raboy, Author Tradition Books $11.95 (297p) ISBN 978-0-945917-00-7
The title of this 1942 Yiddish novel holds out the delicious promise of adventure on horseback, with a touch of Isaac Bashevis Singer's wry wit. But the book, based on Raboy's own turn-of-the-century experiences and newly translated into English, is more like a slice of prairie life, with little derring-do and a lot of tedious chores. The hero, an immigrant horse-lover called Isaac who toils in New York City sweatshops, moves to North Dakota to pursue a career as a ranchhand and to serve as an example of a ``constructive'' Jew. But his boss turns out to be cruel, miserly and anti-Semitic to boot, and Isaac soon becomes disillusioned with the West. He is also unable to find romance, never quite consummating an on-again, off-again relationship with a servant, and greeting his boss's wife's admission of feelings for him with a flat, ``That's very interesting.'' The novel makes easy reading, but Raboy's writing is a mixture of the pedestrian, the over-earnest and the shmaltzy, with only rare moments of drama or humor. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1989
Release date: 01/01/1989
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