Book Review: The Street Sweeper – Elliot Perlman

Oh my gosh, I have literally just finished this book, and fired up the laptop to tell you about it (then being an antique that it is, I brought in the washing… cause it takes that long!)

READ IT NOW! source:

If you’re one of my blog readers who has not read this book, I would strongly encourage you to read it.  It is an EPIC! (I don’t mean it has 500+ pages, every page is well worth it) Admittedly, I am biased for a holocaust book, even a fictional one, but I wish this hadn’t stayed on my ‘to read’ list for more than two years before I finally borrowed it from the library.  What an engaging, intertwined, elaborate tale!

The book starts with a number of different characters (a history professor and a incarcerated black man) in New York city in present day, before weaving the stories together with the civil right movement in the US and the holocaust and the events in Poland during the second world war.  While it can be cliched to neatly tie off every character, I feel like Perlman spent years perfectly this story, because it really does appear seamless.  There are pages of bibliography – nothing here seems to be purely fictional.  It does justice to the true agents of change and history during the holocaust but also the civil right movement in the US.

I am proud to see that Perlman is a fellow Queenslander.  And on returning to the cover page, realised he wrote Three Dollars both the novel and the film/screenplay.  I have seen the film (and loved that the central character was an engineer!).  I think I make an unprecedented weekend stop at the library to collect his other bestseller Seven Types of Ambiguity, before I google his fan page and Facebook page :p  I’m biased but I tend to think Anglophone works that the French media acclaim must be outstanding.  The French are renowned for their disdain for all things English/American (as touched on in the book I gave up on 1000 years of annoying the French), so to take the time to translate the works, but then to win awards, well, to me, that’s the ultimate compliment.

Does my recommendation make you want to read it?  For those of you who have read this, am I overstating the greatness, were there things that you didn’t like?

10 Replies to “Book Review: The Street Sweeper – Elliot Perlman”

      1. Definitely! 🙂 Unbroken, Code Name Verity, The Book Thief, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, I Have Lived a Thousand Years, Night, and Sarah's Key

        I just added The Street Sweeper to my library requests (and it's 626 pages, oh my!).

        1. Thank you! I am pretty sure I've read Sarah's Key and I have definitely read The Book Thief. The rest will go on the library list, despite saying I wouldn't add to it :p

  1. It does make me want to read it! I was even tempted to take the ultra-easy route and download to Kindle…luckily, the card it is attached to has expired. Off to the library catalogue it is!

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