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The Language of Thieves Reviews

The Language of Thieves by Martin Puchner

The Language of Thieves: The Story of Rotwelsch and One Family's Secret History

Martin Puchner

Score pending

1 review

Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publication date: 7 Jan 2021
ISBN: 9781783786404
3 stars out of 5
9 Jan 2021

"the threads are left dangling, never interwoven to create the hoped for tapestry."

Yet Puchner never establishes any direct connections between his mother’s feeding of tramps, his grandfather’s sinister relationship with Rotwelsch and his uncle’s and father’s involvement with the language. If Puchner’s family history does not add up, nor does what he tells us about the language that supposedly links it together. Their home town, Nuremberg, is Hikel-Mokum in Rotwelsch. Puchner claims that the name derives from two Yiddish words — Mokem (a place) and Heykhl (a temple) — but both words actually derive from Hebrew, a language that predates both Yiddish and Rotwelsch.