Steve Stern, an astonishing writer . . . who has secured himself a seat in the distinguished history of Jewish-American letters (The Philadelphia Inquirer), returns with lyrically comic tales about the Pinch, a backwater Jewish community in Memphis, Tennessee, whose misbegotten citizens refer to themselves as the lost tribe. Stern's dreamers are plagued by history, lust, solitude, and the extravagance of their own fevered imaginations: Zelik Rifkin, nebbishe mama's boy, invades his neighbors' dreams and nightmares, and heroically changes the outcomes; Hyman Weiss, would-be successor to Harry Houdini, failing at every attempt to re-create such illusions as the Tortures of the Procrustean Bed, ends up pulling off the most stupendous stunt of all; and Itchy Kabakoff, outcast and grifter, constantly on the move with a traveling carnival, carries as his baggage the memories of three generations of the Kabakoff clan. Steve Stern, a Sholom Aleichem on the Mississippi, is a consummate spinner of tales, a mythmaker. A Plague of Dreamers brilliantly evokes the American Jewish experience, weaving a tapestry of tradition and assimilation and, ultimately, of transformation.