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Download Up from Orchard Street Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Up from Orchard Street, by Eleanor Widmer Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (159 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Eleanor Widmer Narrator: Lorna Raver Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Three generations of Roths live together in a crowded tenement flat. Long-widowed Manya is the family’s head and its heart. She’s renowned throughout the neighborhood for her cooking, and every noontime the front room of the flat turns into Manya’s private restaurant. But Manya is no soft touch, except, perhaps, where her granddaughter Elka is concerned. Precocious Elka is her closest companion and confidante. Through Elka’s eyes we come to know the fascinating characters who move in and out of the Roths’ lives. Money may have been short but opinions were not, and their tart tongues and lively humor abound. In this riveting story lies the heart of the American immigrant experience: a novel at once wise, funny, poignant, anguishing, exultant, and bursting with love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Widmer’s novel of mixed emotions focuses on the Roths, especially family matriarch Manya Roth, and the manner in which they infuse their tenement and neighborhood with warmth and vitality...Lorna Raver’s reading allows the characters, a term that is equally noun and adjective, to shine through with distinctive and realistic personalities. In particular, Raver captures the strength of Manya Roth and the youthful optimism of her granddaughter, Elke. As a result, Raver not only gives life to the book, she also succeeds in reading with a joy that sustains the listener's interest.”


  • “Poignant snapshot of a long-lost era and place…[This] first novel offers pungent, nostalgic vignettes of Jewish life on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • An Audie Award Finalist

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sherilyn | 1/19/2014

    " Great book. listened to it on my Ipod. I loved the different voices and could not put it down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Amara | 1/6/2014

    " I was hoping for another "Tree grows in Brooklyn", and so was disappointed naturally, but still, a pretty good book. It follows a Jewish family through three generations in New York. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lisa | 12/31/2013

    " I truly enjoyed reading this book so much that I ended up taking the tenement tour of the lower east side. Great tour! (I then noticed they lived in an old tenement apt in Devil Wears Prada.) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jodi | 12/30/2013

    " I thought this was a light entertaining book. It started out a bit disjointed for me, but then became more engaging. A sweet story about people living in the NY Jewish ghetto. "

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About the Author

Eleanor Widmer, who grew up on New York’s Lower East Side, had a varied career as a scholar, critic, teacher, and a food and restaurant critic in the San Diego region where she made her home. She earned a master’s degree at Columbia University and a doctorate in English literature at the University of Washington in 1956. A passionate defender of freedom of expression, she was an expert witness in an obscenity trial involving banning the sale of Henry Miller’s novel, Tropic of Cancer. She died in California in 2004 at the age of eighty.