More Stories from My Father's Court

Isaac Bashevis Singer; Translated from the Yiddish by Curt Leviant

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

0374527989

9780374527983

Trade Paperback

240 Pages

$16.00

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A sequel to I. B. Singer's classic memoir In My Father's Court, these stories, published serially in the Daily Forward, depict the beth din in the Singer home on Krochmalna Street in Warsaw. A unique institution, the beth din was a combined court of law, synagogue, scholarly institution, and psychologist's office where people sought out the advice and counsel of a neighborhood rabbi. The twenty-seven stories gathered here vividly and perceptively depict this world as it appeared to a young boy. From the earthy to the ethereal, these stories provide an intimate and powerful evocation of a bygone world.

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Praise for More Stories from My Father's Court

"[More Stories from My Father's Court] has a freshness and immediacy that makes it not merely delightful reading but that gives the best of these autobiographical stories a lingering, uncanny power."—Jonathan Rosen, The New York Times Book Review

"Further testament to the sentimental education that shaped Singer's extraordinary imagination, and his indelible contribution to 20th-century literature."—Newsday

"Each story [is] a kind of window on the human comedy, host to a parade of lovers, gangsters and apostates . . . Singer, of course, was looking back on his childhood from an irreversible exile; he knew that the shadow of the Holocaust would fall across even the sunniest of these tales. The strong, vital element of all his fiction, which animates this book as well, was his refusal to let the annihilation step backward into the past. He grants his father and mother and neighbors the full dignity and complexity of their doomed lives, and in doing so, makes them briefly live again."—Adam Kirsch, The Washington Post Book World

"Raging, crying, pleading, an entire universe eventually crammed its way into a small apartment on Warsaw's Krochmalna Street, where a rabbi tried to sort everything out and a small boy listened . . . [Singer had] an unparalleled ability to bring to life this lost civilization."—Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Nobel laureate Singer's love of stories evolved during his Warsaw boyhood as he listened to neighbors and strangers alike consult with his gentle rabbi father and ever-patient mother. Recollections of this lost world were collected in In My Father's Court (1966), and now 28 more of his fablelike reminiscences, originally published in Yiddish during the 1950s in the Jewish Daily Forward, are available in English for the first time. And they are simply magical. Too young to fully understand all that he listened to so intently, Singer nonetheless grasped the gist of each dilemma and marveled at the 'strangeness of human relationships.' He describes a selfish butcher who dreams of going to America; a gravedigger who both laments and condones his wife's betrayals; a wife who divorces her pious and elderly husband because she doesn't want to give up her cushy life and accompany him to Jerusalem. And then there's the man who believes his bad luck will end if he secures his former fiancee's forgiveness, then falls in love with her all over again when she appears in Singer's father's court. Singer, too, is dazzled and offers an unforgettable self-portrait of himself as 'a boy with red sidecurls, who knew bizarre secrets, was mixed up in the affairs of strangers, and was thinking wild thoughts.' These fleeting days on the eve of World War I, conjured with such vitality and precision, stayed with Singer until his death in 1991 and imbued his precious fiction with its unique blend of insight and fancy, realism and romance."—Donna Seaman, Booklist

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More Stories from My Father's Court
CHAIM THE LOCKSMITH 
 
Although everyone called him Chaim the locksmith, he was actually what we here in America call a plumber. He repaired water pipes, especially clogged toilet lines, a frequent problem in our street.Chaim was a man of middling height, strong and broad-shouldered, with a face brown as bronze and a beard to match. His clothes seemed to be dusted with rust. Although he was still young, his face had the lines and wrinkles of a laboring man who does not spare himself. Summer and winter he wore a short jacket and high boots.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Isaac Bashevis Singer; Translated from the Yiddish by Curt Leviant

  • Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-91) was the author of many novels, stories, children's books, and memoirs. He received the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature and twice won the National Book Award.
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