Shirley Russak Wachtel
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About Shirley Russak Wachtel
Shirley Russak Wachtel is the author of A CASTLE in BROOKLYN, the moving story of a Holocaust survivor whose dream of building his own home and raising a family in Brooklyn is threatened when unexpected tragedy occurs. This highly touted debut novel reflects the aspirations of anyone who dreams of a better life. Other of her books include THREE for a DOLLAR, an anthology of her short stories, THE STORY of BLIMA, the journey of the author's mother in the Holocaust, IN THE MELLOW LIGHT, a book of poetry, and several books for children. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various literary journals. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Wachtel is now a college professor in New Jersey where she lives with her husband, Arthur. She has earned a Doctor of Letters Degree from Drew University, and in 2017 she received the Middlesex County College Scholar of the Year Award. But her proudest achievement are her three sons and two granddaughters, Zoey and Emmy.
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Books By Shirley Russak Wachtel
Spanning decades, an unforgettable novel about reckoning with the past, the true nature of friendship, and the dream of finding home.
1944, Poland. Jacob Stein and Zalman Mendelson meet as boys under terrifying circumstances. They survive by miraculously escaping, but their shared past haunts and shapes their lives forever.
Years later, Zalman plows a future on a Minnesota farm. In Brooklyn, Jacob has a new life with his wife, Esther. When Zalman travels to New York City to reconnect, Jacob’s hopes for the future are becoming a reality. With Zalman’s help, they build a house for Jacob’s family and for Zalman, who decides to stay. Modest and light filled, inviting and warm with acceptance—for all of them, it’s a castle to call home.
Then an unforeseeable tragedy—and the grief, betrayals, and revelations in its wake—threatens to destroy what was once an unbreakable bond, and Esther finds herself at a crossroads. A Castle in Brooklyn is a moving and heartfelt immigration story about finding love and building a home and family while being haunted by a traumatic past.
She paid no heed to the stories about a man named Adolf Hitler, his Nazi Party, and their plan for a world that did not include Jews.
But almost overnight her ordinary life was gone, replaced by a nightmare world of terror and death. Millions of people disappeared into the horror of the Holocaust. But Blima's story survives. It is told here by her daughter, Shirley Russak Wachtel.