By Sasha Abramsky
This is often the tale of Sasha Abramsky's grandparents, Chimen and Miriam Abramsky, and in their special domestic at five Hillway, round the nook from Hampstead Heath. of their semi-detached residence, so deceptively traditional from the skin, the Abramskys created a amazing apartment of Books. It grew to become the repository for Chimen's selection of millions upon hundreds of thousands of books, manuscripts and different published, handwritten and painted records, representing his trip throughout the nice political, philosophical, non secular and moral debates that experience formed the western global. Chimen Abramsky was once slightly while his father, a recognized rabbi, used to be arrested through Stalin's mystery police and sentenced to 5 years difficult labour in Siberia, and fifteen while his kin was once exiled to London. missing a college measure, he however turned a polymath, continually enthusiastic about accumulating principles, with taking pictures the meanderings of the human soul in the course of the international of significant techniques and thinkers. Rejecting his father's Orthodoxy, he grew to become a Communist, made his dwelling as a book-dealer and gathered an enormous, and astonishingly infrequent, library of socialist literature and memorabilia. disappointed with Communism and belatedly recognising the barbarity on the middle of Stalin's venture, he remodeled himself once again, this time right into a liberal and a humanist. To his socialist library used to be extra a vastrove of Jewish historical past volumes. Chimen ended his profession as Professor of Hebrew and Jewish reviews at UCL, London and infrequent manuscripts specialist for Sotheby's. along with his spouse Miriam, Chimen made their condominium a focus for left-wing highbrow Jewish lifestyles: enormous quantities of the world's top thinkers, from at their desk. the home of Twenty Thousand Books brings alive this latter-day salon through telling the tale of Chimen Abramsky's love affair with principles and with the realm of books and of Miriam's obsession with being a hostess and with interesting. Room via room, ebook via booklet, proposal by means of thought, the area of those politically engaged intellectuals, autodidacts and dreamers is lovingly resurrected. during this awesome elegy to a misplaced global, Sasha Abramsky's passionate narrative brings to existence once again not only the Hillway salon, however the rules, the conflicts, the personalities and the human yearnings that lively it. 'The sheer richness of this marvellous e-book – when it comes to its variety, imagine Borges, Perec – amply enhances the wondrous complexity of the relatives – by way of its subject-matter, imagine the Eitingons, the Ephrussi – approximately which Sasha Abramsky writes so lovingly. And as a portrait of London's left-wing Jewish highbrow existence it really is absolutely with no equal.' Simon Winchester 'I enjoyed this touching and heartfelt social gathering of a student, instructor and bibliophile, a guy whose profound studying was once fine-tempered by means of humane knowledge and self-knowledge. we would we all envy Sasha Abramsky in owning this kind of striking grandfather, heroic in his integrity and evoked for us right here with genuine eloquence and affection.' Jonathan Keates 'Sasha Abramsky has mixed 4 different types of historical past – familial, political, Jewish, and literary – into one superb and compelling booklet. With him as an erudite and delicate advisor, any reader can be thankful for the chance to be immersed into the home of twenty thousand books.' Samuel Freedman 'The condominium of Twenty Thousand Books is a grandson's elegy for the vanished international of his grandparents' condominium in London and the exuberant, passionate jostling of 2 traditions ¬– Jewish and Marxist – that intertwined in his growing to be up. it's a attention-grabbing memoir of the deadly come upon among Russian Jewish longing for freedom and the Stalinist...