The Dream

The Dream

A Memoir

By Harry Bernstein

Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345503893, 279pp.

Publication Date: April 7, 2009

During the hard and bitter years of his youth in England, Harry Bernstein's selfless mother never stops dreaming of a better life in America, no matter how unlikely. Then, one miraculous day when Harry is twelve years old, steamship tickets arrive in the mail, sent by an anonymous benefactor. Suddenly, a new life full of the promise of prosperity seems possible and the family sets sail for America, meeting relatives in Chicago. For a time, they get a taste of the good life: electric lights, a bathtub, a telephone. But soon the harsh realities of the Great Depression envelop them. Skeletons in the family closet come to light, mafiosi darken their doorstep, family members are lost, and dreams are shattered. In the face of so much loss, Harry and his mother must make a fateful decision one that will change their lives forever. And though he has struggled for so long, there is an incredible bounty waiting for Harry in New York: his future wife, Ruby. It is their romance that will finally bring the peace and happiness that Harry's mother always dreamed was possible.

About the Author
Ninety-six-year-old Harry Bernstein emigrated to the United States with his family after World War I. He has written all his life but started writing The Invisible Wall only after the death of his wife, Ruby. He has been published in "My Turn" in Newsweek. Bernstein lives in Brick, New Jersey, where he is working on another book.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Praise For The Dream

“Worthy . . . [follows] Bernstein’s family . . . as they struggle to find a new life in America in 1922.”—USA Today

“Packed with carefully crafted dialogue and descriptions that transport us, with keen verisimilitude, from working-class England to Depression-era Chicago . . . Visceral, honest writing [makes] Bernstein’s memoir impossible to put down.”—Jewish News Weekly

“[A] wise, unsentimental memoir.”—New York Times

“Beneath the poignant descriptions of places and times past, beneath the rising and falling patterns of these characters’ lives, we hear what Wordsworth called ‘the still sad music of humanity.’ ”—Washington Post Book World

“Gripping . . . a powerful story of courage, sacrifice, determination, financial hardship and love.”—Jewish Chronicle

“This little book is a marvel, sparely written by a man with almost 100 years experience.”—Deseret Morning News