The Books

How I Learned Geography

by Uri Shulevitz

One Potato Review

One boy’s earliest impressions of everywhere he hasn’t yet been. These are spectacularly triggered by a map which his father brings back from the market; the boy’s mother reacts like it’s a magical bean. Everyone’s stomachs are growling, and there’s a maddening writer next door who chews too loudly when he eats, but the harlequin splendor of that map when it is unfurled against the wall provides more than sufficient distraction. And the names like incantations: “Pennsylvania Transylvania Minsk!” There’s a postscript here describing this author’s own immigrations from Poland to Turkestan to Paris to Israel to the United States; it’s natural to wonder if these or many other places ever lived up to his imagination, and easy to suppose he’s still looking.

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