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Literature / The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

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A book by Sid Fleischman.

Freddie T. Birch is a former soldier in the United States army, having served during World War II. Now, he's touring Europe as The Great Freddie, a so-so ventriloquist with a lame act and a tendency to move his lips when he speaks. One day, on a train, he meets a young boy named Avrom Amos Poliakov, a victim of the Holocaust. Avrom, now a dybbuk, a vengeful possessing spirit, seeks justice for himself and his people, and is hoping to enlist Freddie's help. You see, Avrom, while possessing someone, can speak from any part of them, which makes for a very convincing ventriloquist act.

Not entirely willingly, Freddie takes Avrom's spirit into him, and helps him find the man who killed him, and to help Avrom out of his short shorts.


This book exhibits the following tropes:

  • Demonic Dummy: Averted. Avrom is a Jewish demon of sorts, a dybbuk, but he can only possess people.
  • Pocket Protector: In a one-off line, Freddie reveals that this is his second dummy, that the first one saved him from a piece of shrapnel and was destroyed as a result.
  • Symbiotic Possession: Avrom provides Freddie an act. Freddie helps Avrom track down the man who killed him, and stands in for him for a Bar Mitzvah.
  • Ventriloquism: Freddie learned it during his time in Europe in World War II, and hopes to make a post-war career of it. Unfortunately, he's not very good at it until he meets Avrom.


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