From the Publisher
“This cunning, pungent new collection of stories from the 1970's and 1980's adds a characteristic twist to the materials of a long career.” Robert Pinsky, The New York Times
“Highly reccommended.” Library Journal
“Brimming wwith life.” John Gross, The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set in the present, as well as pre-WW II Poland, in the netherworld and even at the time of the biblical deluge, this latest offering by the skillful and prolific Nobel laureate is suffused with melancholy, hypochondria and death. The 20 stories bear the Singer hallmarks: they are seemingly autobiographical, possess gossipy, digressive dialogue and simple, intimate language, frequently allude to the Holocaust and the painful rootlessness of exile, and are obsessed with sexual perversion and betrayal. A European refugee trapped by her punitive husband into an affair with his young nephew tells the narrator ``that of all the hopes a human being can have, the most splendid is death.'' ``What betrayers men are!'' a woman exclaims in one story, while, in another tale, a man declares that ``the whole male gender is at the mercy of women.'' The narrator of ``The Accuser and the Accused'' is convinced that ``here on earth justice and truth are forever and absolutely beyond our grasp.'' Two bright, delightfully fanciful rays that pierce an otherwise bleak collection are ``The Missing Line'' and ``Sabbath in Gehenna.'' In the former, an uncommon phrase, somehow omitted from a writer's column, absurdly turns up in a news item of a rival newspaper; in the latter, sinners in hell discuss how to win concessions from the angels of paradise. (April)
This tenth volume of short stories by the Nobel Prize author is vintage Singer. At home in the underworld, he gives us stories of Gehenna, the occult, and the demonic forces of evil, of unrequited love, transvestism, and unfaithful spouses. Thus, ``The Accuser and the Accused'' asks how one can explain, except by multiple personality, that a Yiddish mystic from New York can also be a priest in Peru. In the title piece, the biblical character is portrayed at 969``But when you pass your nine hundredth birthday, you are not what you used to be.'' Longing for death, he is taken to Cain's city and learns of Satan and Lilith just prior to the deluge and the rescue of his nephew Noah. Highly recommended for all audiences. Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, Md.