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Publisher's Summary

In 1920, in small-town America, the ubiquitous dry goods store was usually owned by Jews and often referred to as "the Jew store". That's how Stella Suberman's father's store, Bronson's Low-Priced Store, in Concordia, Tennessee, was known locally. The Bronsons were the first Jews to ever live in that tiny town of one main street, one bank, one drugstore, one picture show, one feed and seed, one hardware, one barber shop, one beauty parlor, one blacksmith, and many Christian churches. Aaron Bronson moved his family all the way from New York City to Tennessee to prove himself a born salesman - and much more.

Told by Aaron's youngest child, The Jew Store is that rare thing - an intimate family story that sheds new light on a piece of American history. With a novelist's sense of scene, suspense, and, above all, characterization, Stella Suberman turns the clock back to a time when rural America was more peaceful but no less prejudiced, when educated liberals were suspect, and when the Klan was threatening to outsiders. In that setting she brings to life her remarkable father, a man whose own brand of success proves that intelligence, empathy, liberality, and decency can build a home anywhere.

©1998 Stella Suberman (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Suberman's fine writing and her ability to record tones and scents as well as images make this a lively and engaging story." ( School Library Journal)

What listeners say about The Jew Store

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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Profile Image for maggie
  • maggie
  • 01-01-2021

What a treat!

A Jewish friend recommended this book when I told him I’ve been fascinated by old department stores in the South, with Jewish names. This is a wonderful memoir of life in a Tennessee town from a new point of view.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Susan Straley, Author, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George
  • Susan Straley, Author, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George
  • 03-10-2020

History lesson In a family story

I loved learning about this bit of history in a fun and personable way. Good story.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brandy
  • Brandy
  • 12-07-2018

A little too stereotyped

The youngest of 3 children of Russian Jewish immigrants to the USA tells the story of her family's move to Tennessee where they opened a dry goods store in a small town. The premise is an interesting one as this was a somewhat common phenomenon - Jewish immigrants opening stores in small communities where they are the only, or one of a very few Jewish people. As is to be expected, there were issues of acceptance by the community, issues of isolation due to their situation of being the only Jewish family in the community and issues of foreignness in general. None of these issues is dealt with in any depth, however, leaving something to be desired.
Unfortunately, too, the author fails to flesh out her characters, but chooses instead to try and make them fit templates for the type of people who did this sort of thing. This too makes the story feel a bit empty.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Gerald Kenneth Lamb
  • Gerald Kenneth Lamb
  • 11-10-2016

Interesting Case Study

What made the experience of listening to The Jew Store the most enjoyable?

The nature of living in the south and of being Jewish comes into focus because of the tensions and conflicts. The little details, the elements of daily life so easily forgotten one hundred years later, made the story come to life.

Which character – as performed by Donna Postel – was your favorite?

None stood out; all of the characters fit well within the cohesive whole.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I had to take breaks from it. Not because the voice acting wasn't good (overall I thought Donna Postel did a tremendous job) but because the story felt too much like a nostalgic re-creation. There wasn't much reflection mixed in with the childhood memories to really give the story bite.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Mark
  • Mark
  • 20-07-2016

Marvelous! Very touching!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
A very touching family story. What more do I need to say?

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for NMwritergal
  • NMwritergal
  • 02-05-2016

A topic I was interested in...

...so I was thrilled it was finally on audio. Unfortunately, the audio narrator detracted from the story. While she didn't mispronounce any of the Yiddish words (thumbs up), she couldn't voice accents or the cadence of NY Jews, and she couldn't differentiate much between male and female "characters." She wasn't awful but she didn't even reach the "ok" benchmark. That said, Postel's voice was perfectly "pleasant" to listen to and the story was good enough that I wanted to know how it all played out.

As for the story, my only complaint is that the author flat out tells you she made up the name of the town and county. Why? I think she was in her 80s when she wrote this book so...?

The story really was quite interesting and she handled the "family memoir" quite well, e.g., a good portion takes place before she's born and every once in a while she'll pop in something like, "Of course I wasn't there but I've heard the story so many times," or "My brother remembers it like this..." so you don't feel like she's just making it up.

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