A House Too Small and Oth­er Stories

Ezra Hirschmann; Alan Berg­er, fwd.
  • Review
By – February 20, 2014

Hirschman­n’s debut short sto­ry col­lec­tion, A House Too Small, fea­tures sev­en sto­ries focus­ing on the dif­fer­ent effects on those who lived through the Holo­caust, or the Shoah’s last­ing influ­ence on their descen­dants. Set in Israel to South Africa, the sto­ries illus­trate the Holo­caust’s world­wide impact on all those involved. Over­all, Hirschman­n’s writ­ing pulls the read­er in, and cap­tures our atten­tion and hearts. He pref­aces each sto­ry with a quota­tion giv­ing the read­er a sense of the tale we are about to read.

Jews are not fea­tured in every sto­ry, as is the case with the sto­ry Lady Dorothy’s Dilem­ma,” which fea­tures a wealthy, alco­holic wid­ow liv­ing in South Africa try­ing to men­tal­ly escape the con­se­quences of her hus­band’s actions in the War.

With this sto­ry and oth­ers, Hirschmann effec­tive­ly jumps from his protagonist’s present to past events. A House Too Small” bru­tal­ly recounts the tor­ture a young Jew­ish endured, and the effects it has on her mar­riage as an adult liv­ing in Amer­i­ca. The most emo­tion­al­ly com­pelling and heart-wrench­ing sto­ry of the col­lec­tion, The Clair­voy­ant,” tells the sto­ry of a Chris­t­ian com­poser’s rape of a Jew­ish maid­ser­vant. The com­pos­er makes the deci­sion to pro­tect his Jew­ish child, and must come to terms with the ter­ri­ble atroc­i­ties he has committed.

A House Too Small dra­mat­i­cal­ly rep­re­sents how the Shoah is very much a liv­ing mem­o­ry with­in the Jew­ish peo­ple. This col­lec­tion is a gem of a book from a new author, who deliv­ers fresh, emo­tion­al narratives.

Tal­ie Ear­le recent­ly grad­u­at­ed with a Mas­ters in Library and Infor­ma­tion Sci­ence and a Bachelor’s degree in art his­to­ry and cur­rent­ly runs her local temple’s book club. She also writes book reviews for the GLBT Round­table for the Amer­i­can Library Association.

Discussion Questions