A real village called Slawotich existed long ago. Now Steven Sher brings this shtetl back to life in five eloquent stories in which the mystical infuses every day. In the guise of a giant, Greed comes to Slawotich and menaces the villagers. A seller of mystical books inadvertently leaves plagues and destruction in his wake as he departs each town he visits. A young girl struggles to balance traditional observance with her compassion for a chicken. A peddler, weary of his wanderings, experiences a series of transformations, revealing the burdens that other creatures must carry. And in the title story, the village rabbi-modeled after the author's great grandfather-finds a divinely- inspired way to protect the villagers from a pogrom. Where the Shouting Began hors the past and speaks to the present with wisdom, insight, and humor.