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Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first collection of stories, Gimpel the Fool, is a landmark work that has attracted international acclaim since it was first published in 1957. In Saul Bellow’s masterly translation, the title story follows the exploits of Gimpel, an ingenuous baker who is universally deceived but who declines to retaliate against his tormentors. Gimpel and the prot Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first collection of stories, Gimpel the Fool, is a landmark work that has attracted international acclaim since it was first published in 1957. In Saul Bellow’s masterly translation, the title story follows the exploits of Gimpel, an ingenuous baker who is universally deceived but who declines to retaliate against his tormentors. Gimpel and the protagonists of the other stories in this volume all inhabit the distinctive pre–World War II ghettos of Poland and, beyond that, the larger world created by Singer’s unforgettable prose.


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Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first collection of stories, Gimpel the Fool, is a landmark work that has attracted international acclaim since it was first published in 1957. In Saul Bellow’s masterly translation, the title story follows the exploits of Gimpel, an ingenuous baker who is universally deceived but who declines to retaliate against his tormentors. Gimpel and the prot Isaac Bashevis Singer’s first collection of stories, Gimpel the Fool, is a landmark work that has attracted international acclaim since it was first published in 1957. In Saul Bellow’s masterly translation, the title story follows the exploits of Gimpel, an ingenuous baker who is universally deceived but who declines to retaliate against his tormentors. Gimpel and the protagonists of the other stories in this volume all inhabit the distinctive pre–World War II ghettos of Poland and, beyond that, the larger world created by Singer’s unforgettable prose.

30 review for Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I adored Gimpel and found that he was no fool, but rather admirable in his ability to care for those around him, even children that weren't his own. I found his qualities to be endearing and the only fools were the ones who chose to treat him bad. I adored Gimpel and found that he was no fool, but rather admirable in his ability to care for those around him, even children that weren't his own. I found his qualities to be endearing and the only fools were the ones who chose to treat him bad.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Olivia-Savannah

    I've been reading a lot of mediocre short stories for this class. Poor Gimpel. He really is abused by the max by so many people here. And the ending just felt... incredibly dissatisfying for all the abuse and struggles he faces at these cruel people's hands. Not sure what I make of the ending, or what to really take away from this story after everything that happens? So I here I sit. Not really making much of this other than it was okay, and the message... uh. I need to think on it some more I gu I've been reading a lot of mediocre short stories for this class. Poor Gimpel. He really is abused by the max by so many people here. And the ending just felt... incredibly dissatisfying for all the abuse and struggles he faces at these cruel people's hands. Not sure what I make of the ending, or what to really take away from this story after everything that happens? So I here I sit. Not really making much of this other than it was okay, and the message... uh. I need to think on it some more I guess?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this charming collection of tales about the Yiddish speaking Jews of Poland. The work is profoundly American. The stories were written in New York at a time when there were more Jews in the city than in Israel and more Yiddish speakers than there had ever been anywhere in the same place. Singer wrote these sweet stories for his fellow New Yorkers who felt tremendous nostalgia for the Jewish communities that they had left behind. "Gimpel the Fool" has all the You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy this charming collection of tales about the Yiddish speaking Jews of Poland. The work is profoundly American. The stories were written in New York at a time when there were more Jews in the city than in Israel and more Yiddish speakers than there had ever been anywhere in the same place. Singer wrote these sweet stories for his fellow New Yorkers who felt tremendous nostalgia for the Jewish communities that they had left behind. "Gimpel the Fool" has all the delights you would find in "Fiddler on the Roof." The quality of the English text is superb. One of the translators is Saul Bellow who like Singers was a Nobel Prize winner. This is a brilliant anthology brilliantly rendered into English. It is a great American classic.

  4. 4 out of 5

    gretl glick

    i liked it so much i named my dog after the author.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John David

    “Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories” was originally published in 1953, and contains ten short stories rife with Singer’s unique fictional voice – full of meditations on mortality, good, and evil, Jewish mythology, and an ability to communicate truths in the folksy, simple yet extraordinarily sophisticated way that characterizes these parabolic stories. Singer’s protagonists live in the Old World in every sense - a world inhabited with dybbuks, qlippoth, and golem who are every bit as real as anyo “Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories” was originally published in 1953, and contains ten short stories rife with Singer’s unique fictional voice – full of meditations on mortality, good, and evil, Jewish mythology, and an ability to communicate truths in the folksy, simple yet extraordinarily sophisticated way that characterizes these parabolic stories. Singer’s protagonists live in the Old World in every sense - a world inhabited with dybbuks, qlippoth, and golem who are every bit as real as anyone else. They are not disembodied spirits in “the world beyond.” They quite literally live in your mirror (see “The Mirror”) and come to talk to you after they have died. In the title story, and maybe one of the more endearing, Gimpel, a baker from Frampol, openly declares in the opening lines “I am Gimpel the Fool. I don’t think myself a fool. On the contrary. But that’s what folks call me.” His innocence and simplicity almost set him up for the reader to expect something more sinister, but his child-like nature abides. Despite marrying a woman who shamelessly cuckolds him time and time and time again, he seems to have a preternatural ability for forgiveness and acceptance. One night, a Spirit of Evil visits him in his sleep and tempts him to deceive the world in the same way that it continues to deceive him. He asks how, and the Spirit responds “you might accumulate a bucket of urine every day and at night pour it into the dough. Let the sages of Frampol eat filth,” and urges him not to believe in God. The spirit of his wife visits him and warns him that just because she was false to him doesn’t mean that everything he’s learned is false. Gimpel is a poignant figure, but one whose goodness consigns him to what others think is foolishness for his entire life. Singer the parabolist is at his height “The Gentleman from Cracow” wherein a man descends upon Frampol seemingly able to solve many of the city’s problems with his tremendous generosity and wealth. The only man trying to brook his influence on the townspeople of Frampol is old Rabbi Ozer, who keeps warning that he is a satanic influence. With such a heavy-handed theme, Singer does the seemingly impossible here: telling a moralistic tale without taking a cudgel to the reader’s head in order to communicate his message. This might be one of my favorite stories in the collection because its tone has so much in common with many of the others. It is a clearly articulated, well-defined fable that leaves enough room for ambiguity to entice the intelligent reader to visit it more than once. After this and a couple of other experiences with short stories this year, I think I could reconsider what I think of them. Both this and Angela Carter’s “The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories” are two of the best books I’ve read in the last year. I was in the bookstore the other day and bought “In My Father’s Court,” an autobiographical volume about Singer’s rebellious childhood. These stories more than anything else struck me as the stories of a rebel; the characters are overly credulous yet smart, and deeply religious but speculative and doubting. If it’s anything like these stories, I can’t wait.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jigar Brahmbhatt

    The Little Shoemakers, with its wholesomeness, remains one of the finest Singer stories I have read. It has the ease and majesty of a classic novel, and it reaches, not for an immediate effect in its closure, but for an after-effect that soothes the heart. You feel content after reading it, and you want to revel in that feeling. It is very easy to use the word "feel good", but it will limit the effect to some storytelling gimmick or suggest some overt sentimentality that goes for titillating the The Little Shoemakers, with its wholesomeness, remains one of the finest Singer stories I have read. It has the ease and majesty of a classic novel, and it reaches, not for an immediate effect in its closure, but for an after-effect that soothes the heart. You feel content after reading it, and you want to revel in that feeling. It is very easy to use the word "feel good", but it will limit the effect to some storytelling gimmick or suggest some overt sentimentality that goes for titillating the reader, while overlooking the reality of the characters. Something much more graceful is at work here, and Singer's wisdom comes through in the prose. Abba, the central character, teaches shoe-making to his eldest son: "Abba himself led the boy down into the cellar and showed him the formula for adding chemicals and various kinds of bark to the tanning fluid. He revealed to him that in most cases the right foot is larger than the left, and that the source of all trouble in the fitting of shoes is usually to be found in the big toes." I loved how "the source of all trouble..." is to be found in "the big toes"! There is a ring of hard-earned truth in this sentence, and it naturally goes deeper than what it is supposed to mean. The son, Gimpel, decides to leave for America and a moving description follows which I am tempted to paste here: "When his mother saw that it was settled, she urged him to take at least a jar of preserves, a bottle of cherry juice, bedding, pillows. But Gimpel refused. He was going to steal over the border into Germany, and he stood a better chance if he traveled light. In short, he kissed his mother, said good-bye to his brothers and friends, and off he went. Abba, not wanting to part with his son in anger, took him in the wagon to the station at Reivetz. The train arrived in the middle of the night with a hissing and whistling, a racket and din. Abba took the headlights of the locomotive for the eyes of a hideous devil, and shied away from the funnels with their columns of sparks and smoke and their clouds of steam. The blinding lights only intensified the darkness. Gimpel ran around with his baggage like a madman, and his father ran after him. At the last moment the boy kissed his father's hand, and Abba called after him, into the darkness, "Good luck! Don't forsake your religion!" The train pulled out, leaving a smell of smoke in Abba's nostrils and a ringing in his ears. The earth trembled under his feet. As though the boy had been dragged off by demons! When he returned home and Pesha fell on him, weeping, he said to her, "The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away..." There is a weight to Singer's writing. His prose is simple yet dense. You can easily glide your eyes over it, but then it continues to grow in your mind. Consider this comment by the poet Ted Hughes, writing for the New York Times: "His [Singer's] powerful, wise, deep, full-face paragraphs make almost every other modern fiction seem by comparison labored, shallow, overloaded with alien and undigested junk, too fancy, fuddled, not quite squared up to life." And though Singer's work is largely about the collapse of the Hasidic way of life under the pressure of the 20th century, his stories have that already-told, accessible quality that is the mark of good literature, described aptly by Ted Hughes: "Squared up to life"!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Anne Linstatter

    The story "Joy" in this book is unforgettable, rich with spiritual meaning, about a rabbi whose children die, who lives in despair without faith for many years. I read it many years ago, decided to use the book this semester in teaching RS 310 Religion & Literature at California State University, Northridge. All the stories are fascinating puzzles, pieces of the human condition to ponder over and reflect upon. Set in a small town in Poland... before and after the Holocaust. The question asked so The story "Joy" in this book is unforgettable, rich with spiritual meaning, about a rabbi whose children die, who lives in despair without faith for many years. I read it many years ago, decided to use the book this semester in teaching RS 310 Religion & Literature at California State University, Northridge. All the stories are fascinating puzzles, pieces of the human condition to ponder over and reflect upon. Set in a small town in Poland... before and after the Holocaust. The question asked so often in the early 1950s--"Can meaningful literature be written after this horror? Can it be read?"--is answered in this book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    VJ

    I enjoyed having this story read to me. Gimpel, ever sanguine, demonstrates the concept of acceptance of fate, or a faith of elephantine proportions. Slept through this short tale three times before I heard the story in its entirety. Not boring, just soothing narration!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Singer is just a great storyteller...these stories haven't aged much because they take place in some unknown time full of she-demons and dybbuks, where Satan is always trying to get you. Singer is just a great storyteller...these stories haven't aged much because they take place in some unknown time full of she-demons and dybbuks, where Satan is always trying to get you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Zöe Yu

    Gimpel the Fool made the reputation of Isaac Singer, however, it is a regular story about village fool. I didn't read it very carefully. But The Cafeteria is the best short story I've read so far. It has all the elements I've considered valuable for modernists' literature. Few people can read it in Yiddish, but the translation is one of the best! Well, in this sense, Yiddish Literature needs a reviving! For sure. If I would call it the essence of Jewish Lit in stead of the state of Israel. But p Gimpel the Fool made the reputation of Isaac Singer, however, it is a regular story about village fool. I didn't read it very carefully. But The Cafeteria is the best short story I've read so far. It has all the elements I've considered valuable for modernists' literature. Few people can read it in Yiddish, but the translation is one of the best! Well, in this sense, Yiddish Literature needs a reviving! For sure. If I would call it the essence of Jewish Lit in stead of the state of Israel. But past is the past, it cannot be lost, but it is the past.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories was an interesting foray into Singer's writing. With a heavy focus on Jewish traditions and folklore against a Polish backdrop, Singer focuses mainly on the "seven deadly sins," including gluttony, pride, and avarice. I'll need to think on the overall experience of reading his work, and will return with a fleshed-out review shortly. Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories was an interesting foray into Singer's writing. With a heavy focus on Jewish traditions and folklore against a Polish backdrop, Singer focuses mainly on the "seven deadly sins," including gluttony, pride, and avarice. I'll need to think on the overall experience of reading his work, and will return with a fleshed-out review shortly.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Izzy

    depressing. Gimpel is passive and so am I. but also no excuse for others to be so mean to him he dies w/ clear conscience praising God i guess idk hard to know what to make of him. boring

  13. 5 out of 5

    Professor Cue

    Gimpel didn't ask for any of this. Gimpel didn't ask for any of this.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Reserva

    I can't get over this book. There's so much in it you have to dwell about it for months. I can't get over this book. There's so much in it you have to dwell about it for months.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    I can't believe I was over thirty before I finally picked up a book by IBS. (No, not irritable bowel syndrome, Isaac Bashevis Singer.) I felt deeply ambivalent about these stories, because they force me to reckon with how shamefully little I know of my own near-ancestors' culture and customs. My Jewish education had no mention of dibbuks, hell, or harlots; the superstition and misogyny on display here would probably not bother me at all if I had been expecting it. It makes me uncomfortable and a I can't believe I was over thirty before I finally picked up a book by IBS. (No, not irritable bowel syndrome, Isaac Bashevis Singer.) I felt deeply ambivalent about these stories, because they force me to reckon with how shamefully little I know of my own near-ancestors' culture and customs. My Jewish education had no mention of dibbuks, hell, or harlots; the superstition and misogyny on display here would probably not bother me at all if I had been expecting it. It makes me uncomfortable and a little guilty how strange and Other these Jews in the stories seem to me, a modern and near-secular "culturally Jewish American." I suspect I am not alone in having anticipated a gentler, more comical take than I got. Singer is dark indeed, and I suppose it reflects his experiences in Poland that the cruel and unfaithful rarely, if ever, seem to get their comeuppance. I'm still digesting, still processing, but I wish I had a group of Jewish feminists and perhaps an academic specializing in Jewish history to talk about these stories with me. I think more context would be richly rewarding. That being said, IBS is a fabulous storyteller - in that regard, I was far from disappointed.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yehuda

    Honestly, didn't love or really get the Gimpel the Fool story, but decided to read on anyway. I loved the rest of the stories. The author is amazing at mixing fantasy elements into the old Jewish religious world of the shtetl. Absolutely recommend this for lovers of Jewish fiction and fantasy alike. I can see why the author won a Nobel Prize. Honestly, didn't love or really get the Gimpel the Fool story, but decided to read on anyway. I loved the rest of the stories. The author is amazing at mixing fantasy elements into the old Jewish religious world of the shtetl. Absolutely recommend this for lovers of Jewish fiction and fantasy alike. I can see why the author won a Nobel Prize.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ena

    Mystical, vivid and memorable - I.B. Singer's stories are gems, all of them. This is the second short story collection by him that I have read and am now looking forward to becoming acquainted with his novels too. I feel that this is an author whose work I will actively seek out and read in its entirety Mystical, vivid and memorable - I.B. Singer's stories are gems, all of them. This is the second short story collection by him that I have read and am now looking forward to becoming acquainted with his novels too. I feel that this is an author whose work I will actively seek out and read in its entirety

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    This book was great. Very Jewish, in the best way, but also in the way that it would probably mostly only be appreciated by Jews or folks who are pretty familiar with Jewish storytelling.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andres Eguiguren

    I enjoyed this collection of short stories, my first time to read Bashevis Singer. Published in the early 1950s, the stories mostly take place in small Jewish Polish villages during the interwar period, though one or two of them make reference to the Second World War. It is a world of rabbis, shoemakers, small town merchants, bums, cheating wives, imps, and devils. Reading this collection felt like a real throwback to a time and a place that no longer exists, and it is an interesting place to vi I enjoyed this collection of short stories, my first time to read Bashevis Singer. Published in the early 1950s, the stories mostly take place in small Jewish Polish villages during the interwar period, though one or two of them make reference to the Second World War. It is a world of rabbis, shoemakers, small town merchants, bums, cheating wives, imps, and devils. Reading this collection felt like a real throwback to a time and a place that no longer exists, and it is an interesting place to visit for a few hours.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emmy

    I had picked this up at a used book shop on a whim. While I enjoyed reading it, and really liked the author's writing style, I was not totally snagged by the stories themselves. For the most part, I found them to be a little depressing: --A gullible fool is cuckolded by his wife --A devil seduces a vain young woman --A notorious wife-killer marries a husband-killer --A shoemaker's sons grow up and move away to America --Etc., etc. However, I rather enjoyed getting a bite-sized glimpse of Jewish cultur I had picked this up at a used book shop on a whim. While I enjoyed reading it, and really liked the author's writing style, I was not totally snagged by the stories themselves. For the most part, I found them to be a little depressing: --A gullible fool is cuckolded by his wife --A devil seduces a vain young woman --A notorious wife-killer marries a husband-killer --A shoemaker's sons grow up and move away to America --Etc., etc. However, I rather enjoyed getting a bite-sized glimpse of Jewish culture (pre-WWII), and this book made me curious to read more about it, so that was certainly a plus, but in general, I just wasn't hooked by this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janek

    a great set of timeless stories.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Espresso

    This story is labeled as a parable, though I am not certain it fits that genre, I think perhaps it would be better as a fairy tale, as it requires a greater level of willingness to suspend disbelief. I liked the writing and the layout of the story was good, but I did not like the protagonist. It may be stated that Gimpel is an example of the dangers of taking all that is told to you as true, and applying unquestioning faith to fallible people as well as to religion, but I feel that there is more This story is labeled as a parable, though I am not certain it fits that genre, I think perhaps it would be better as a fairy tale, as it requires a greater level of willingness to suspend disbelief. I liked the writing and the layout of the story was good, but I did not like the protagonist. It may be stated that Gimpel is an example of the dangers of taking all that is told to you as true, and applying unquestioning faith to fallible people as well as to religion, but I feel that there is more to his character than the willingness to be the butt of a joke. His village is cruel to him, his wife uses him, and he cannot find a person, save perhaps the Rabbi, that expresses any willingness to show compassion or even friendship to him, and yet he chooses to believe. He chooses to behave as though he fell for the taunts so that the villagers will not become upset with him, he chooses to be used by his wife, though his love of the children is admirable, when he knew it could not be. These traits are not traits of a likable or even respectable protagonist. Throughout the entirety of the short story I was hoping Gimpel would meet a deservedly painful end. I was disappointed that he did not.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey May

    Aren’t We All Fools? In “Gimpel The Fool,” Isaac Bashevis Singer illuminates the mystery, depth, and folly of humanity with clarity and immediacy, as if the storyteller was in the room. Perhaps Singer is a fool like the rest of us but if so, one who is truly worthy of a Nobel Prize. “Gimpel” is a series of stories, set mostly in the late 1930s (although the tales are timeless), and loosely centered around an Eastern European Jewish community of Frampol, its fools, rabbis, matchmakers, its rich and Aren’t We All Fools? In “Gimpel The Fool,” Isaac Bashevis Singer illuminates the mystery, depth, and folly of humanity with clarity and immediacy, as if the storyteller was in the room. Perhaps Singer is a fool like the rest of us but if so, one who is truly worthy of a Nobel Prize. “Gimpel” is a series of stories, set mostly in the late 1930s (although the tales are timeless), and loosely centered around an Eastern European Jewish community of Frampol, its fools, rabbis, matchmakers, its rich and poor, traditions, and devils, those who “see without being seen.” Isaac Bashevis Singer’s “Gimpel The Fool” reminded me again the benefit of reading and enjoying the masters, literature that resonates across generations.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mahak

    I only bothered with Gimpel the Fool to be honest and it was a charming little story indeed. Better still was listening to its audio version in the quiet moments tonight. I do prefer ones which leave us with remembering a moral code or two to abide by..so if you're one such as I, yes, you will be pleasantly entertained. I only bothered with Gimpel the Fool to be honest and it was a charming little story indeed. Better still was listening to its audio version in the quiet moments tonight. I do prefer ones which leave us with remembering a moral code or two to abide by..so if you're one such as I, yes, you will be pleasantly entertained.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alvin

    These well-told stories instantly plunge one into the shtetls of old Poland. Alas, the puritanical, superstitious, and socially constricted nature of that world is offered up without critique, or even comment, which I found unpleasant. By the end of the book I could really see why my grandparents renounced their religion and turned bolshevik.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Eva Marie

    Absolutely adored this! I adore Singer's writing! There was one story that I wasn't overly fond of but every single other one was fantastic. Talent just flows from each of the books I've read by Singer so far. I can't wait to read more! Absolutely adored this! I adore Singer's writing! There was one story that I wasn't overly fond of but every single other one was fantastic. Talent just flows from each of the books I've read by Singer so far. I can't wait to read more!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Myles

    (4.6/5.0) These are wonderful stories– the kind I imagine my ancestors sharing over soup in some Russian hovel. Not unlike the paintings of Marc Chagall, Singer's stories fuse folklore and reality, creating lush alternative spaces and beautifully rumpled characters. (4.6/5.0) These are wonderful stories– the kind I imagine my ancestors sharing over soup in some Russian hovel. Not unlike the paintings of Marc Chagall, Singer's stories fuse folklore and reality, creating lush alternative spaces and beautifully rumpled characters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Vel Veeter

    An Early short story collection by the Nobel Prize laureate who published in Yiddish. I’d read several of his fables and stories as a kid and loved them and he’s always sort of been in the back of mind to read as an adult. This collection involves mostly characters in the early 1900s before WWI (which is referenced in a few stories) and are concurrent with Singer’s childhood. Gimpel is a fool but is not dumb, he’s simply someone who is easily taken advantage of. He does not think this is the wor An Early short story collection by the Nobel Prize laureate who published in Yiddish. I’d read several of his fables and stories as a kid and loved them and he’s always sort of been in the back of mind to read as an adult. This collection involves mostly characters in the early 1900s before WWI (which is referenced in a few stories) and are concurrent with Singer’s childhood. Gimpel is a fool but is not dumb, he’s simply someone who is easily taken advantage of. He does not think this is the worse fate in the world and in a moment late in the story, he makes it clear that he believes that the person takes advantage risks losing their soul as a consequence of their action, while the fool remains neutral, and in his case, reaps the benefits of patience and kindness. In another story, a widower meets a young girl (14 or so) who seems by accounts to be possessed by the spirit of his dead wife, and so he marries her. What is interesting about this story is that through the supernatural element of the relationship, we work through some of the issues associated with remarrying and attempting to recreate experiences and how they becomes simulacra in their own ways (so many people have tried to simply replace one love for another, and this is always a failure), as well as the role of second wives in the lives of children. Another story involves an older man facing his waning days trying to live by the ethics of Spinoza, which of course doesn’t pay well, and when he’s too old for WWI he finds a late love. And in another story we meet the daughter of a dying rabbi married off to will his congregation out who he sees in her new husband all signs of the devil. The stories are remarkable in a lot of ways and have an in-born oldness to them that reminds me of other similar writers like Stephen Zweig, Joseph Roth, and Isaac Babel, despite Singer not publishing these until the 1950s.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Oona

    If you are expecting sweet folktales and beloved characters like those in Fiddler in the Roof, you will be disappointed . Instead, this collection is much more earthy. The devil and his minions narrate several of the stories. Mayhem, violence and deceit abound. Singer is a master of his craft, describing everything from the rags of a beggar to a sunset in prolific detail .if you have a keen interest in Eastern European Yiddish culture, warts and all, then this short story collection would appeal If you are expecting sweet folktales and beloved characters like those in Fiddler in the Roof, you will be disappointed . Instead, this collection is much more earthy. The devil and his minions narrate several of the stories. Mayhem, violence and deceit abound. Singer is a master of his craft, describing everything from the rags of a beggar to a sunset in prolific detail .if you have a keen interest in Eastern European Yiddish culture, warts and all, then this short story collection would appeal to you..

  30. 4 out of 5

    keatssycamore

    As usual, a short story collection has ups and downs for me. I was particularly affected by Joy and The Little Shoemakers less so by the title story and some others. I was surprised by science fiction/fantasy/supernatural aspects of the stories and appreciate that there must be numerous folklore traditions that I am ignorant of informing the work.

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