Isaac Bashevis Singer Shadows on the Hudson

ISBN 13: 9780452280038

Shadows on the Hudson

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9780452280038: Shadows on the Hudson
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When the daughter of a very religious 1940s businessman leaves her husband to pursue a relationship with a married man, she disrupts the lives of her Manhattan community of Jewish refugees

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Review:

Although Isaac Bashevis Singer emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1935, the circumscribed world of the Polish Jews remained at the heart of his imagination. Beginning with his first major work, Satan in Goray (1935), he used the life of the shtetl as raw material, transforming its folkways, religious practices, superstitions, and sexual habits into superior works of art. From time to time, however, Singer turned his eye upon New World Jews like himself, recording their rapid or reluctant assimilation into the American mainstream. One such book is Shadows on the Hudson.

This massive novel originally was serialized in the Yiddish-language Jewish Daily Forward in 1957. Now it has finally been translated into English--in a capable version by Joseph Sherman--and Singer fans should be very grateful. Center stage is occupied by Boris Makaver, a master builder equally devoted to I-beams and the Talmud, and Anna, his much-married daughter. Fanning out from this duo, however, is a small universe of refugees, all of them served up with Singer's customary brio. (Here's a comical snapshot of a shyster named Hertz Grein: "His nose had a Jewish hook, but then had second thoughts and straightened itself out. His lips were thin, and his blue eyes revealed a curious mixture of bashfulness, sharpness, and something else that was hard to define. Margolin used to say that he looked like a Yeshiva boy from Scandinavia.") As the subplots pile up in an unruly heap, the novel sometimes reveals its installment-plan origins. Still, Singer puts his large cast through some wonderful paces, and the endless talk--for these are characters who truly come alive through the medium of rapid, contentious, Yiddish-accented conversation--allows the author to speculate about destiny, identity, and freedom without slowing his story a whit. As Singer said more than once, "Of course I believe in free will. Do we have a choice?"

About the Author:

Isaac  Bashevis Singer (1904-91)  was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780374531225: Shadows on the Hudson: A Novel (FSG Classics)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0374531226 ISBN 13:  9780374531225
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
Softcover

9780374261863: Shadows on the Hudson

Farrar..., 1998
Hardcover

9780241139400: Shadows on the Hudson

Farrar..., 1978
Hardcover

9780140273212: Shadows On The Hudson

Plume ..., 1999
Softcover

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