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January 20, 2022


#Short stories Isaac Bashevis Singer

by N@ncy



12. Collected Stories (Isaac Bashevis Singer Classic Editions) by Isaac Bashevis Singer by Isaac Bashevis Singer Isaac Bashevis Singer

Finish date: 15 January 2022
Genre: Short stories
Rating: C

Bad news: I didn’t have to go far to find the PERFECT words to describe this book.
I found them on page 370 in the story “A Day in Coney Island.
Singer’s friend an editor of a Yiddish paper says it so clearly:
“…no one give a hoot about demons, duybbuks (Yid: wandering souls) and imps of 200 years ago!”

Bad news: Stories are nice, nostalgic but some feel so long and describe just about everything in the village and synagogue! A few stories are TOO long…they feel like novellas.
A lot of devils, the Evil spirit, Satan and imps…sometimes Satan in the narrator and main character!
Sorry, after 5-6 stories about “old Poland” and village life I started to skim them. The stories I most enjoyed took place in Miami Florida or New York City!

Good news: I.B. Singer had the talent to pierce into the hearts of men who are staring at an empty wall and not in the mood for a conversation. (The Cabalist of East Broadway).
Most of the stories are humorous, with an undercurrent of tragedy, and very readable (just sometimes too long as I said earlier). authentically Jewish short stories with wry humor.

Good news:
Style: combined Jewish mysticism with demonology (devils, imps etc)
Nearly all of the stories in this collection make use of the supernatural in some way
Scope: this volume represent roughly one-third of Singer’s published work in short fiction (excluding his children’s books).
Topics: telepathy, clairvoyance, premonition, ability to converse with the dead, Ouija boards, improbable tall tales….about dubbyks (wandering souls), imps and devils.
Theme Individual choice and romantic love thwarted by parental edict and tradition. Singer also touches on “old age”. Some of his most lovable characters were either the doddering, depresssed pensioner or an agelss-in-spirit quirky oddball.

New rule: Avoid buying collected short stories books by any author…it is just TOO much of a good thing. It took me 2 days to read 40 stories and I skipped about 7. They were the same old narrative: Polish village, frantic marriage matchmakers, frantic mothers, dogmatic rabbis and daughters and sons that just want to live their own life.
My favorite story was The Letter Writer: …connection between a among a solitary man, a mouse, and a lonely woman…will touch a heart string for sure! If you can find this story…enjoy!

I finally can check this book off on my TBR…it has been collecting dust since 18 July 2015.
47 short stories and I really enjoyed 15 …that is only 30%
Many stories felt outdated, old-fashioned tales about life in pre-WW II Polish villages. The best stories took place later in Singer’s life …settings: New York City, Coney Island, Miami, Florida and Tel Aviv, Israel.
Isaac Bashevis Singer won the #Nobel Prize 1978
…and if you can find them…there are some great stories/novels to read!







Read more from Mount TBR 2022, short story
2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jan 20 2022

    Reblogged this on penwithlit and commented:
    Very interesting and informative. Thanks!


    • Jan 20 2022

      I enjoyed this book despite some ‘bad news’ items.
      If IBS writes about real life….post emigration to USA in are in for some great storytelling!

      Liked by 1 person


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