THE LAUREATE: I.B. Singer was born in a village near Warsaw in 1902 to a rabbi and a rabbi’s daughter. His brother and sister were also writers, who introduced him to the Yiddish literary world of Warsaw. His family left Poland for the United States in 1935, fleeing the increasingly anti-Semitic culture around them. Settling in New York, Singer continued to publish widely in Yiddish, and frequently translated his own works into English.
WHAT I’M READING: Satan in Goray, Singer’s first published work.REVIEW: I really liked Satan in Goray. It talks about the effect that a far-off messianic cult has on a Jewish village ravaged by invaders. People in the village, having only recently recovered from a Hungarian invader, latch onto the teachings that people claiming to be his followers bring with them. The central character is Rebech, a girl whose mother gives birth at the start of the invasion, lives through the craziness Sabbatai’s cult brings to Goray and dies when the cult is extirpated.
RECOMMENDED: Yes, I really enjoyed this, and I’ve got Gimpel the Fool to look forward to.
WHAT’S NEXT: John Steinbeck’s The Moon is Down