Janice Steinberg’s most recent book, “The Tin Horse,” is now available. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:
I thought I had entered completely into the world of my novel: Boyle Heights in the 1920s and ’30s, when the Los Angeles neighborhood was home to some 50,000 Jews and a center for Jewish life. Then I started getting questions from Tony.
Tony is Tony Hudz, the charming man who directed the audiobook of “The Tin Horse.” And he needed to know how to pronounce every word — for instance, should Danny Berlov’s last name be Bear-lov or Bear-lohf? My first response was, “Neither;” my mental voice had always said Ber-lov. But Danny is a new immigrant when he enters the story in 1926. And Tony’s query made me realize I was hearing Danny’s last name as it would have evolved a generation later, when its Yiddish inflections had been absorbed into English.