Fiction · Novels · Reviews

Review: Yiddish for Pirates

Hello friends, happy Wednesday, I hope you’re all doing well! Today I’m going to be posting my review of Gary Barwin’s novel Yiddish for Pirates.

I read this for my Canada Reads project (reading all the nominated books for #CanadaReads).

Yiddish for Pirates

Yiddish for Pirates by: Gary Barwin: Set around 1492, this story tells the tale of a young man named Moishe who loves maps and adventure. Because of his love, he joined a ship’s crew where he befriends a parrot named Aaron who becomes his companion. The two travel together across seas from Spain to the Caribbean on different adventures, all the while searching for the Fountain of Youth. This novel was very slow paced; for a novel that is set at sea and is on an adventure it just felt like the story dragged. The plot had peaks and valleys; at times it would be intriguing but then it would lose the reader’s interest. The addition of Yiddish words and phrases, while probably gave value to readers who know and understand Yiddish, left readers who don’t confused and just unable to connect fully to the story and the characters. This is probably where the reader lost the spark of this novel and what made it so unique. The characters were fascinating, but hard to connect to. The reader also found that point of views shifted multiple times between the main character and the narrator causing confusion as to who was talking. The fact that the narrator was a bird was really compelling to read. The reader wanted to like this, but this novel feels as if it’s tailored to a specific market and this reader isn’t that target audience. The reader can appreciate what the author was trying to create, but this wasn’t for them.

4 thoughts on “Review: Yiddish for Pirates

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