Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

*Brooklyn

*Brooklyn. Largest of five boroughs of New York City and the setting for the entire novel. The diverse ethnic groups living in Brooklyn’s brownstone row houses include many Jews, such as the novel’s central characters, who live in the borough’s Williamsburg neighborhood.

Malter home

Malter home. Brooklyn home of Reuven Malter, a teenage Orthodox Jew who lives with his widower father, a teacher in a Jewish parochial school and a scholar of Jewish law. The Malters live downstairs in a brownstone house with a tiny yard on Lee Avenue, which is shaded by Sycamore trees; paintings by famous Jewish artists line the walls in their home’s entry hall. Curtained French doors, trimmed with Ionic columns, open into the father’s windowless study, where a yellow desk lamp glows. The senior Malter wears a skullcap and glasses as he sits hunched over a large desk covered by a green blotter and stacks of papers, and writes religious articles. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases line walls of his study, where he and Reuven drink tea and discuss the history of two sects of European Jews. They say prayers and eat the Shabbat meal in the kitchen.

During his recovery from an eye injury in a softball game, Reuven sits on the back porch in a lounge chair and inhales scents of grass and flowers. His room has a bookcase, a narrow bed, a desk covered with papers, and a small radio with a program schedule featuring...

(The entire section is 593 words.)