The Invisible Wall

This wonderfully charming memoir, written when the author was 93, vibrantly brings to life an all-but-forgotten time and place. It is a moving tale of working-class life, and of the boundaries that can be overcome by love.

“There are places that I have never forgotten. A little cobbled street in a smoky mill town in the North of England has haunted me for the greater part of my life. It was inevitable that I should write about it and the people who lived on both sides of its ‘Invisible Wall.’ ”

The narrow street where Harry Bernstein grew up, in a small English mill town, was seemingly unremarkable. It was identical to countless other streets in countless other working-class neighborhoods of the early 1900s, except for the “invisible wall” that ran down its center, dividing Jewish families on one side from Christian families on the other. Only a few feet of cobblestones separated Jews from Gentiles, but socially, it they were miles apart.

On the eve of World War I, Harry’s family struggles to make ends meet. His father earns little money at the Jewish tailoring shop and brings home even less, preferring to spend his wages drinking and gambling. Harry’s mother, devoted to her children and fiercely resilient, survives on her dreams: new shoes that might secure Harry’s admission to a fancy school; that her daughter might marry the local rabbi; that the entire family might one day be whisked off to the paradise of America.

Then Harry’s older sister, Lily, does the unthinkable: She falls in love with Arthur, a Christian boy from across the street.

When Harry unwittingly discovers their secret affair, he must choose between the morals he’s been taught all his life, his loyalty to his selfless mother, and what he knows to be true in his own heart.

The Invisible Wall - Harry Bernstein Summary

The Invisible Wall may refer to: The Invisible Wall (1947 film), an American noir film The Invisible Wall (1991 film), an Italian drama film "The Invisible Wall", a song by Japanese band The Gazette..

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The Invisible Wall - Harry Bernstein Book Reviews (102)

Bookworm 44

Amazing5 star

This book is Amazing I just read it in my high school class and it was the best book we have read all year. This non-fiction book is not boring at all. It makes you feel as if you want to live through life with Harry on his street, trials, and triumphs. 55

Dr V Larson

Dr V's view5 star

I found the book to be well-written. It moved a little slow at first but I soon found it to be engrossing. It was very touching to read about the bias against the Jews and to realize that the invisible wall was starting to crumble. I enjoyed the love story between Lily and Arthur. The author made you feel like you were right there on the street and experiencing what the residents experienced. It was uplifting that the neighbors got together to welcome Lily, Arthur, and little Jimmy. A story well-told revealed all of the sadness one experiences in life. In a nutshell, this was, indeed, a great story and one that is memorable. 55


Amazing5 star

I had to read this as a summer reading book for my high school; this is a very good book that's really makes the ready feel like he/she is reliving the events in this book. Very well written. 55


Must read5 star

An amazing true story. Sincerely, a must read! Don't miss the follow-up book, "The Dream". 55

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