- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Despite efforts to revive its use, Yiddish remains a dying language. Most of its speakers have died, and few living know more than a handful of words and phrases. The loss of the spirit and culture reflected in the Yiddish language, and the price of such progress and change, is the subject of Foiglman.
Zvi Arbel, an Israeli professor and historian, receives a letter from Schmuel Foiglman, a Yiddish-speaking poet and Holocaust survivor living in France. Foiglman effusively praises Arbel's history of the 17th-century massacre of the Polish Jews, sends Arbel a volume of his poetry, and arrives in Israel to meet him.
Arbel and his wife are put off by Foiglman's "old world" ways. He acts like a peasant, talks too much, gestures too grandly, and behaves too casually among virtual strangers. In time, though, Arbel is strangely drawn to the man and the culture his language calls to mind. Against the wishes of his wife, Arbel begins to explore the small world of Yiddish speakers living in Israel; but his interest leads to tragedy.
A successful writer in Israel for over 50 years, Megged is well known there. But Foiglman is a novel worthy of wider recognition -- a true masterpiece, revealing the complexity of modern Israeli life and describing the last breaths of a language and culture that had much to offer. (Winter/Spring 2004 Selection)