Call It Sleep

By Henry Roth


When Henry Roth published Call It Sleep, his first novel, in 1934, it was greeted with critical acclaim. But in that dark Depression year, books were hard to sell, and the novel quickly dropped out of sight, as did its twenty-eight-year-old author. Only with its paperback publication in 1964 did the novel receive the recognition it deserves. Call It Sleep was the first paperback ever to be reviewed on the front page of The New York Times Book Review, and it proceeded to sell millions of copies both in the United States and around the world. 

Year of Publication


If there were a novel that offered a deep insight into the fear, desperation and dejection that comes with growing up as a Jewish immigrant in the slums of the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early part of the twentieth-century, then Call it Sleep is that novel. Calling upon his own childhood experiences, Roth delivers a depth of reading that is cutting and profound  and not quickly forgotten.

Review by Rob Burdock


Author Biography

Henry Roth (February 8, 1906 – October 13, 1995) was an American novelist and short story writer.