Rodinsky's Room

Rodinsky's Room

Rodinsky's world captured the imagination of a young artist, Rachel Lichtenstein, whose grandparents had escaped Poland in the 30s, and over a period of years she began to document the bizarre collection of artifacts that were found in his room, and make installations using images from his enigmatic bequest.

Now Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair have written an extraordinary book that weaves together Lichenstein's quest for Rodinsky.

Part mystery story, part memoir, part travelogue, Rodinsky's Room is a testament to a world that has all but vanished and the celebration of the life of a unique man.

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Jahrhunderts und von East London nach Jerusalem führt, um schließlich nicht nur Spuren des verschwundenen David Rodinsky zu finden, sondern auch ihren eigenen künstlerischen und persönlichen Weg. Die Beschreibungen des verlassenen, baufälligen Raumes in der ehemaligen Synagoge, in dem sich noch die persönlichen Gegenstände des verschollenen Rodinsky finden, Gegenstände, die auf einen so gelehrten wie eigenwilligen Menschen schließen lassen; die Beschreibung des Stadtteils Whitechapel, eines der ärmsten Viertel Londons, das nun am Fuße der Gentrifizierung steht und seine Geschichte und seine Identität verliert - diese Schilderungen haben mich sehr bewegt. Schließlich wird spürbar, dass Rodinsky nicht in der verlassenen Mansarde präsent ist, sondern in Rachel Lichtensteins liebevoller Beschäftigung mit ihm.

This is a book which stems from Rachel Lichtensteins research into the old (and sadly declining) Jewish culture of this part of London, and from her investigations into Rodinskys history and his ultimate fate. I write to an extent because at heart, I think this is really Rachel Lichtensteins book; Sinclair is basically relegated to a role on the sidelines, riffing on the mythology around the periphery of The Room, while Lichtenstein does the hard work in journalistic prose of tracking down contacts and digging up old records. It is fascinating and sad and strange all at the same time; I was worried at first that the initial hints towards cabbala mysticism would overwhelm the actuality of his case with spooky shenanigans, but thankfully Lichtenstein keeps things grounded throughout.

I only wish Rachel Lichtenstein had written this book alone. I would strongly recommend that you not waste your time reading any of the chapters in this book written by Mr Sinclair. Ms Lichtenstein writes in a very straightforward friendly manner and tells a story not just about the man who lived in the attic and what happened to him under mysterious circumstances but also about her obsession with him and her simultaneous journey to find herself through her family history. This would have been a real shame, as the story as told by Ms Lichtenstein was informative, engaging, well researched and she did appear to be sensitive to the fact that Rodinsky was an intensely private man.

I really enjoyed this book, and it's a good way into understanding the East End of London from the perspective of one of the groups that have helped shaped it.

I loved the absorbing story of Rachel Lichtenstein about her quest to find the truth of Rodinsky's life and death.

In many ways this is a detective story in that a solitary Jewish man, the Rodinsky of the title, who had been living above a decaying and abandoned synagogue, vanishes into complete oblivion one day. The synagogue, 19 Princelet Street in Londons Spitalfields, was built in someones back garden and forgotten about before, ironically, being rediscovered as the area became home to a new wave of immigrants into the area and the remaining Jewish community moved out. She meets relatives of Rodinsky who give her vague glimpses of the man, speaks to the last remaining Jewish residents and creates her own artwork inspired by her research. Lichtenstein records her anger at attending an art show in the now defunct Jewish dining club in which sacred Hebrew texts and books had become part of the show as the participants had no idea what they were destroying and thus history vanishes.

Beide Autoren beschreiben ihre Annäherung an Rodinsky, den angeblichen Hausmeister einer Synagoge in der Princelet Street 19 in London, der in den 60er Jahren spurlos verschwand und nur ein Dachzimmer mit seinen Habseligkeiten, insbesondere Notizen in verschiedensten Sprachen hinterließ.

  • English

  • Nonfiction

  • Rating: 3.88
  • Pages: 362
  • Publish Date: February 1st 2000 by Granta UK
  • Isbn10: 1862073295
  • Isbn13: 9781862073296