jeudi 12 janvier 2012

Reading : Issac Bashevis Singer, The Family Moskat

I am reading Issac Bashevis Singer, again. Really, even his name trips off the tongue like the start of a yarn, whispered in your ear by a plump white-haired grannie, as she serves you buttered toast and a mug of sweet, stale tea, slapping your thigh when the story gets raucous. The opening pages of this book, for I have only just begun, gallop forward, from character to country. A cinematographic description of a market scene in Warsaw in the 1900's, complete with cameo roles for jugglers, ragpickers and washerwomen, leads us to a scene between a precocious young man come to the city to study and a learned, mocking scholar. I love the way his writerly hand pans back and forth, describing people and places from the inside out and, then, from the outside in. Bashevis Singer writes both contemporary and historical books. In The Seance and Other Stories, the short story The Seance, begins in 1946 in the living room of Mrs Kopitzky on Central Park West where the walls are decorated with trance paintings. The story, if I remember rightly, discusses belief, love and betrayl and the post-WW2 battered Jewish community. The characters, as in The Family Moskat, are whole, faulty and so richly portrayed that one feels like you can reach out and touch them.

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