Each of Yossel Birstein’s stories reports an encounter with people who ride Jerusalem’s many bus lines — housewives, Chasids, beautiful women, a blind man, a shoemaker, an angry daughter, bus drivers, and more. These scrupulously rendered translations give us a feel for the wry and empathic tone of Birstein’s Yiddishized Hebrew that is attuned attuned to the voices of his chance meetings from one day to the next.
“Yossel Birstein is a born flaneur. He is to Jerusalem as Baudelaire is to Paris, Dickens to London, Joseph Mitchell to New York.”
—Vivian Gornick, author of The Odd Woman and the City
“In this winsome collection – populated by Birstein’s seatmates, the mad, the maddening, the misanthropic, and the just plain miserable – the pungency comes from the people . . . You might strain to see the world in Blake’s grain of sand, but you see Birstein’s world with clarity in a short hop aboard a Jerusalem bus.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“The Milk Underground possesses the clarity we associate with the films that shape our lives. He is the auteur of angst, the director of a cast of characters destined to haunt our dreams, the one who knows best how to frame his, and our, experience. Someck is one of the most inventive poets around.”—Christopher Merrill, Necessites
“In poetic language that is both conversational and lyrical, Inbar and Manaster masterfully and seamlessly translate Someck’s wide-ranging, horrified and loving vision.”—Aliki Barnstone