The Street Sweeper

The Street Sweeper

Elliot Perlman / Nov 27, 2020

The Street Sweeper How breathtakingly close we are to lives that at first seem so far away From the civil rights struggle in the United States to the Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe there are stories than people

  • Title: The Street Sweeper
  • Author: Elliot Perlman
  • ISBN: 9781594488474
  • Page: 388
  • Format: Hardcover
  • How breathtakingly close we are to lives that at first seem so far away From the civil rights struggle in the United States to the Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe, there are stories than people passing one another every day on the bustling streets of every crowded city Only some stories survive to become history.Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams,How breathtakingly close we are to lives that at first seem so far away From the civil rights struggle in the United States to the Nazi crimes against humanity in Europe, there are stories than people passing one another every day on the bustling streets of every crowded city Only some stories survive to become history.Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams, an African American probationary janitor in a Manhattan hospital and father of a little girl he can t locate, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an elderly patient, a Holocaust survivor who was a prisoner in Auschwitz Birkenau.A few blocks uptown, historian Adam Zignelik, an untenured Columbia professor, finds both his career and his long term romantic relationship falling apart Emerging from the depths of his own personal history, Adam sees, in a promising research topic suggested by an American World War II veteran, the beginnings of something that might just save him professionally, and perhaps even personally.As these men try to survive in early twenty first century New York, history comes to life in ways neither of them could have foreseen Two very different paths Lamont s and Adam s lead to one greater story as The Street Sweeper, in dealing with memory, love, guilt, heroism, the extremes of racism and unexpected kindness, spans the twentieth century to the present, and spans the globe from New York to Chicago to Auschwitz.Epic in scope, this is a remarkable feat of storytelling.

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      Published :2020-08-01T11:05:08+00:00

    About "Elliot Perlman"

      • Elliot Perlman

        Elliot Perlman is an Australian author and barrister He has written two novels and one short story collection His work condemns the economic rationalism that destroys the humanity of ordinary people when they are confronted with unemployment and poverty This is not surprising in a writer who admires Raymond Carver and Graham Greene because they write with quite a strong moral centre and a strong sense of compassion However, he says that Part of my task is to entertain readers I don t want it to be propaganda at all I don t think that for something to be political fiction it has to offer an alternative, I think just a social critique is enough He describes himself, in fact, as being interested in the essence of humanity and argued that exploring this often means touching on political issues.Perlman often uses music, and song lyrics, in his work to convey an idea or mood, or to give a sense of who a character is However, he recognises that this is a bit of a risk because the less familiar the reader is with the song, the smaller the pay off.


    758 Comments

    1. In another book conversation, I described The Street Sweeper as giving me a have-my-emotions-turned-upside-down-then-ripped-out-and-stomped on kind of feeling. Pretty apt to add it to this review, I thinkElliot Perlman's work is compelling to the ninth degree, relentless, colossal, intelligent, unsettling, unwavering and deeply, deeply moving. It is one of those rare novels which teaches, reminds and moves us about historical truths simply too important to be forgotten. The phrase from the book [...]


    2. "Memory is a wilful dog. It won't be summoned or dismissed but it cannot survive without you. It can sustain you or feed on you. It visits when it is hungry, not when you are. It has a schedule all of its own that you can never know. It can capture, corner you or liberate you. It can leave you howling and it can make you smile."Early in the novel Perlman revives the memory of the four little black girls who are killed by a bomb planted by white supremicists while attending Bible class at the 16t [...]


    3. The best novel I’ve read so far this year. It’s about the redemptive powers of storytelling and is intelligent, compelling and deeply moving. It features a cast of brilliantly drawn characters and does a fantastic job of demonising racism. The street sweeper is Lamont Williams, an American black man in his 30s and an ex-convict who has lost touch with his young daughter. He is living with his grandmother in the Bronx, and after doing a good deed is offered a job as a janitor at a New York ca [...]


    4. While it has been many years since the liberation of the Jews from the last concentration camp, we still need to be told about what happened there because it would be more than disgraceful if we forget. Elliot Perlman masterfully does this in this incredibly important novel, inspired by the lives of some real people. It will shake your sensibilities; it is deeply moving, gut wrenching, and heart breaking and this doesn't aptly describe it .The description of what happened in the gas chambers in [...]


    5. What a beautiful story that is full of emotion. Fortunately, I was very patient with this book and was not in a hurry to finish. There are lots of characters and lots of historical happenings that take some time to get through. When everything comes around full circle I found it impossible not to give this a 5 star rating. It's very detailed in explaining the death camps of the war. I guess that's a trigger warning. It's very disturbing. I loved this book!!!! Grab a box of tissues and brace your [...]


    6. I had strong and contrary reactions to the opening of this novel. It’s because it opens with two story trajectories – of black civil rights in America and of Jews and the Holocaust. The positive reaction was to the opening scene with Lamont, the African American man who has just got out of prison and been able to find a placement in a job – against the odds. He is catching a bus to work and is full of anxiety – compounded by the fact that a Hispanic man gets on the bus angry with the dri [...]


    7. What a truly amazing and well written novel by an Australian writer, Elliot Perlman.The book starts off in the present tense, New York City with Lamont William, an African American who was recently released from prison. He find a job as a cleaner at a hospital for cancer patients. Lamont is currently on a probation period in his job. He desperately needs to stay clean and on track so he has the security and income to trace the daughter he’s left behind. At the cancer ward that he met and befri [...]


    8. This is an intensely powerful and moving novel, rich with various themes. I'm not sure whether I can do this book justice with a review. The story is set in two times. In the present day, we follow the stories of Adam Zignelik, an untenured historian academic at Columbia University who has produced no original research for years, meaning the university will be compelled to let him go, and young Lamont Williams, an ex-prisoner and a hospital janitor on probation. In the story of 60+ years previou [...]


    9. "Memory is a wilful dog. It won't be summoned or dismissed but it cannot survive without you. It can sustain you or feed on you. It visits when it is hungry, not when you are. It has a schedule of its own that you can never know. It can capture you, corner you or it can liberate you. It can leave you howling and it can make you smile. Sometimes it's funny what you remember."This is Elliot Perlman's Masterpiece. What a brilliantly written book. It tugs at your heart strings. It is confronting, sh [...]


    10. I'm a bit spasmodic with my book reviews but I think this one deserves some of my time to gather some thoughts and share them. Having read The Rise and Fall of the 3rd Reich, much other primary and secondary historical material, including the Goebels Diaries, as well as many novels about the Holocaust, including Lily Brett's work and William Styron's, clearly the subject matter is familiar to me, and to many others. When I bought Elliot Perlman's latest novel, I was also aware that it would be p [...]


    11. The Street Sweeper is an intense novel about several disparate individuals, improbably linked. The novel is at times a bit didactic, the characters serving as props for the story Perlman wants to tell about the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement. It is educational! However, there was also plenty of drama and tension and I tore through the 623 pages.


    12. I've been reading this novel for over three years. Each time I'd pick it up, I'd read-or reread-the first chapter and fall into a deep slumber. I came to think of it as the "sleep sweeper." Finally my clever wife got it added to the list for our Florida book club. She knew I'd have to finish it because of my inability the admit defeat in front of all those persnickety ladies. As usual, I started reading it, got to the end of chapter one, fell asleep and woke up to find myself with only 36 hours [...]


    13. Elliot Perlman latest book The Street Sweeper is a complex and compelling story with the main theme being the importance of history. The story centres on two men both trying to get there lives back together in different circumstances. The first and the one menchined in the books title is Lamont Williams a man recently out of prison and trying the best to go well in his new job at a hospital while thinking of how to find his 8 year old daughter. While at work Lamont will meet a Jewish pacient Hen [...]


    14. “Tell everyone what happened here.” An old man, dying, a survivor of the death camps in Europe, tells the story of his life to an improbable listener, an African-American ex-con trying to get his life together. The old man insists that the younger man remember and repeat every detail – the hard-to-pronounce names of towns in Poland, the names of people who didn't survive – so he can become part of the chain of memory and tell everyone what happened there. Meanwhile, a nontenured professo [...]


    15. This novel, historical fiction, swept me away until the last bits of the characters' lives were neatly placed in the bin. Lamont, Noah and Mr Manndelbrot are haunted men living In the 21st century, but tortured by the Holocaust, and race wars. Eliot Perlman, the author, not only masterfully tells stories of these awful times in modern history, but breathes life into them by igniting the past with details so intricate that not only did the characters shudder, but so did this reader.I recommend th [...]


    16. On a busy New York City corner, four people, a street sweeper, an oncologist, a history professor and a little girl are clustered in a small group. From those who pass them on that busy corner, few if any have any idea as to what has led the group here. Yet these seemingly unrelated individuals from different walks of life are bound by a common history of struggle, bravery, and unexpected kindness of those who have come before them.Recently released from prison, Lamont Williams is an African Ame [...]


    17. I just finished The Street Sweeper by Elliott Perlman and all I can say is WOW!! This book begins in New York City where we meet a black man who has just been released from jail. The book then introduces us to a Professor of History at Columbia, who was raised in Australia, and learns he won't be receiving tenure. Along the way we meet an elderly man who has survived the Holocaust and tells his story to an orderly at Sloan Kettering Hospital, And then another man from the 40's who interviewed ma [...]


    18. Oh, my goodness I disliked this novel. I hadn't planned to give Perlman another go after Three Dollars which I found clichéd and trite, and I should have stuck with my original intention. In the hands of another author I could see myself enjoying a novel set up the way The Street Sweeper is. I'm interested in all the historical moments it touches on, World War Two, Gandhi's satyagraha against the British in India, the Civil Rights era in the US. I could see myself engaging with the story of a h [...]


    19. I got to the point of no return last night I just had to finish the last 100 pages, and thus are feeling the effects today. Great book, which is a mirage of peoples lives and periods of time. Not too sure about the final paragraph and was expecting a little bit more Ver good though. It is a bit harrowing with the descriptions of the death camps and it is near impossble to imagine the savagery required to manage and work these areas.


    20. I am not really enjoying The Street Sweeper: one character is crazy because he's just gotten out of jail, and the other is crazy because he keeps replaying mentally all the liberal gobbledy gook his father taught him when he was a little boy. When they're not acting crazy, the characters are unutterably didactic. I can't figure out why to finish this drivel.


    21. The Street Sweeper by Aus­tralian his­to­rian Elliot Perl­man is a fic­tional book which deals with the Amer­i­can strug­gle for civil rights and the Holo­caust. The book beau­ti­fully ties together the idea that we are all human and touch each other’s lives.Lam­ont Williams, an ex-con African Amer­i­can, is try­ing to return to nor­mal life after being at the wrong time in the wrong place. Lam­ont gets a job at a hos­pi­tal where he works as a jan­i­tor and befriends a ca [...]


    22. In The Street Sweeper, Elliot Perlman weaves a number of narratives together against the backdrops of the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement in America. Perlman has the gift for telling a story you think you already know but making you feel it as though you are hearing it for the first time.The Street Sweeper begins with the story of Lamont Williams, a young African American man, and Adam Zelegnik, a history professor from Colombia University whose lives are seemingly worlds apart. The stor [...]


    23. I hate abandoning books, but I've read 12%, and I'm getting more and more irritated with the writing. Why, oh why, oh why does Perlman keep repeating himself? I enjoy books that challenge my mind, make me think a little. I'm not afraid of lengthy novels or unique writing styles, but it's such a chore to read this. Reading shouldn't feel like work. I've connected with the main character, Lamont Williams, but I'm drowning. I wanted to like this book too. Disappointed.


    24. For someone who has probably read one too many books about the holocaust. I loved this book. I love the way Perlman constructs his stories. The way so many lives are connected and the visual imagery his words provoke. I believe him to be a great modern writer


    25. Absolutely amazing book! Very intense at times particularly when reading about the Holocaust An absolute must read.


    26. Es ist klar, es wird immer deutlicher: Die Generation jener, die es erlebt haben, stirbt aus, die Generation, die weitererzählen will, weiter erzählen muß und dazu zwangsläufig auf Fiktionen zurückgreifen wird, tritt an. Also wird eines der entscheidenden Themen, die Publikationen wie Perlmans Buch immer begleiten werden, immer die Frage sein: Geht das?, darf man das?, kann am es SO machen?Deshalb hier eine Antwort des Rezensenten vorneweg: Ja, man kann es so machen. Vielleicht MUSS man es [...]


    27. Every Yom Hashoah, I feel a sense of vulnerability because of my own explicit Jewishness. I am unafraid to wear my identity openly, but remain virulently guarded of who I fundamentally am. As a result I am highly sensitive to the communities that I function within and the manner in which these communities refer to, treat, talk about and discuss Jews or Jewish things.And so it is when I read carefully constructed and meticulously researched fictional accounts of modern Jewish history, the likes o [...]


    28. I "hope" to write a more specific review at a later date. I can't quite figure out how to write a review that does the book justice and captures the essence of the book and its topics and the author.This is the first book I have ever read by Elliot Perlman. He is a very talented writer and a master of his craft. This book is a combination of historical fiction, mystery, suspense, character development, love and relationship, families, guilt, hope - you name it. It is very well researched - the H [...]


    29. I tried to dislike this novel. Beginning it, I thought it pedantic, even preachy. As a novel about atrocity and racism, I thought the author's points too plainly and eagerly hammered home, without grace. What bothered me, too, was that Lamont Williams, a 21st century individual necessarily treading water in the sea of information we live in, could be so ignorant of the Holocaust. But I was unsuccessful. I soon began to like The Street Sweeper.Perlman has written an engaging, even gripping novel, [...]


    30. Lamont Williams is an African American ex-con who is trying to make the transition back to a normal life. He lives with his beloved grandmother, has a probationary job at the Sloan Kettering Medical Centre and is searching for his daughter. While at his job, he meets and befriends an elderly Jewish patient who is a Holocaust survivor. This man tells Lamont about his experiences in a Nazi extermination camp in Poland. He makes Lamont repeat the story over and over until he can repeat it in all of [...]


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