The Street Sweeper

The Street Sweeper

4.16 (3,957 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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On the crowded streets of New York City there are even more stories than there are people passing each other every day... only some of these stories survive to become history.

Lamont Williams, recently released from prison and working as a hospital janitor, strikes up an unlikely friendship with a patient, an elderly Jewish Holocaust survivor who starts to tell him of his extraordinary past.

Meanwhile Adam Zignelik, the son of a prominent Jewish civil rights lawyer, is facing a personal crisis: almost 40-years-old, his long-term relationship is faltering and his academic career has stalled. It's only when one of his late father's closest friends, the civil rights activist William McCray, suggests a promising research topic that the possibility of some kind of redemption arises.

Dealing with memory, racism and the human capacity for guilt, resilience, heroism, and unexpected kindness, The Street Sweeper spans over fifty years, and ranges from New York to Melbourne, Chicago, Warsaw and Auschwitz, as these two very different paths - Adam's and Lamont's - lead to one greater story.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 576 pages
  • 153 x 234 x 41mm | 752g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 0571236847
  • 9780571236848
  • 14,140

Review quote

"An expertly told novel of life in immigrant America--and of the terrible events left behind in the old country."
--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Brilliantly makes personal both the Holocaust and the civil rights movement.... A moving and literate page-turner."
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Perlman's compulsively readable wrestle-with-evil saga is intimate and monumental, wrenching and cathartic."
--Booklist (starred review)

"In the best kind of books, there is always that moment when the words on the page swallow the world outside -- subway stations fly by, errands go un-run, rational bedtimes are abandoned -- and the only goal is to gobble up the next paragraph, and the next, and the next.... [The Street Sweeper is] a towering achievement: a strikingly modern literary novel that brings the ugliest moments of 20th-century history to life, and finds real beauty there."
--"Entertainment Weekly"

"A sprawling work, generous in its spirit and in breadth of imagination, unabashed in its liberal humanism."
--"The Age"

"A rich, engaging story of New York. [Perlman is] an author of rare erudition and compassion. The Street Sweeper is his boldest work yet and, quite probably, the one that will win him a greater following."
--"The Washington Post"
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About Elliot Perlman

Elliot Perlmanis the acclaimed author of a collection of short stories and two novels,Three Dollars, the film adaptation of which was released in 2005, andSeven Types of Ambiguity, which was a 'New York Times Notable Book' and a national bestseller in France, where it was described 'one of the best novels of recent years, a complete success'(Le Monde). A barrister, he lived in New York for many years and currently lives in Melbourne.
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Rating details

3,957 ratings
4.16 out of 5 stars
5 43% (1,708)
4 38% (1,484)
3 14% (539)
2 4% (143)
1 2% (83)
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