Books by Isaac Bashevis Singer

MORE STORIES FROM MY FATHER’S COURT by Isaac Bashevis Singer
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"Sure to delight all those Singer fans—especially those who feared that a fifth posthumous collection would never hit the shelves. "
Enchanting sketches of a lost world. Read full book review >
SHADOWS ON THE HUDSON by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1998

"A major work, from one of the great modern novelists."
The late Nobelist (1904-91) left us yet another gift in this previously untranslated long novel, originally serialized in Yiddish in the Forward more than 40 years ago. Read full book review >
THE TOPSY-TURVY EMPEROR OF CHINA by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: April 26, 1996

"There is a heroic dimension to this tale and some savage buffoonery, but nothing unruly finds its way into the meticulous, paneled Asian art, which remains coolly distant and stylized. (Picture book. 7-9)"
A dark tale of the eternal "struggle between good and evil, beauty and ugliness," from a master, given pristine treatment in the illustrations that appear in this edition. Read full book review >
MESHUGAN by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1994

"Manna for his following, who know that wherever Singer touched pen to paper there sprang up a village — of ghosts, of survivors, of all of us."
The late Nobelist's third posthumously published novel (after Scum and The Certificate) was serialized (1981-83) in Yiddish in the Forward newspaper and was titled Lost Souls. Read full book review >
THE CERTIFICATE by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1992

"A Chaplinesque one, done with gusto and panache."
Aria on adolescence written in Singer's old age, set familiarly in the post-WW II Warsaw ghetto. Read full book review >
SCUM by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1991

"Marvellous descriptions of Warsaw life, both in the Jewish quarter and elsewhere, do much to redeem the triteness of a tale predictable in its telling and its outcome: not Singer's best."
More déja vu than vintage, Singer's latest novel combines familiar Singer themes of moral corruption, Polish life before the wars, and seductive women—all in a story with lofty intentions and a plot that's seen better days. Read full book review >
THE KING OF THE FIELDS by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 10, 1988

"And, simply as storytelling, this may be the weakest work of Singer's career: uninvolving, clumsily prosaic, more reminiscent of a bad-imitation Clan of the Cave Bear than anything in the Nobel Prize-winner's beguiling canon."
Singer's first novel in five years touches on many of his recurring themes (lust vs. reason, paganism vs. civilization, women as she-devils) but in a strange, largely unconvincing context: pre-medieval, primitive Poland, where assorted pagan tribes fight for control of rural neighborhoods, at odds over (among other things) whether to live by hunting or farming. Read full book review >
THE DEATH OF METHUSELAH AND OTHER STORIES by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 1, 1988

"So this is very much lesser Singer: always readable, of course, but rather monotonic and undernourished."
You often write on the topic of jealousy." Read full book review >
THE IMAGE AND OTHER STORIES by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1985

"Less comic, varied, and compelling than the best Singer collections, then, with only fleeting glimpses of the Writers' Club and the "literary cafeteria"—but a generous, vigorous gathering nonetheless."
Unlike Old Love (1979), which offered a perfectly balanced mixture of Singer's Old World (passionate, mystical) and his autobiographical New World (comic, whimsical), this new story collection is weighted heavily—and a little monotonically—toward Old World tales of wayward lust, doomed triangles, and tortured sinners. Read full book review >
GIFTS by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: March 26, 1985

"In all: certainly a distinguished send-off for this special-interest, limited-edition series."
These two slim volumes inaugurate the Jewish Publication Society's "The Author's Workshop" series—which will present writing-in-progress or previously unpublished (or uncollected) stories. Read full book review >
LOVE AND EXILE by Isaac Bashevis Singer
RELIGION
Released: Sept. 14, 1984

"No surprises for Singer veterans, then, but a welcome package for newcomers."
Singer's three recent memoirs, of mystical childhood and randy youth in Poland, of first immigrant days in the New World, are reprinted together here: A Little Boy in Search of God (1976); A Young Man in Search of Love (1978); and Lost in America (1981). Read full book review >
THE PENITENT by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: Sept. 30, 1983

"And, though Singer's storytelling genius isn't totally absent from this slight, linear tale, it's primarily for students of his work-and-thought—while much of his usual readership will find it merely puzzling or off-putting."
It's unsurprising that Singer's new novel, originally published in Yiddish (Der Baal-Tshuve) in 1974, was not quickly offered in English translation: this is the Nobel winner's thinnest, most didactic fiction by far, with strident views (not expressed by IBS directly, it's true) that might warm the hearts of Jerry Falwell & Co. as well as those of Jews opposed to assimilation. Read full book review >
THE GOLEM by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 1982

"One longs for a glint of life or expression somewhere—but the legend can support Shulevitz' approach."
With more story, as well as more craft and substance, than in Beverly Brodsky McDermott's histrionic picture-book version (1976), this tells of Rabbi Leib of Prague and the golem he created to save a banker and other ghetto Jews from execution for false charges. Read full book review >
THE COLLECTED STORIES OF ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: April 8, 1982

"So, with its brief, sly yet tender introduction (the collection is dedicated to the memory of editor Rachel MacKenzie), this will draw in Singer devotees for repeat readings; and it is an essential acquisition, of course, wherever those previous collections are not available."
Forty-seven stories from Singer's 100-plus canon would more appropriately be called "Selected Stories" than "The Collected Stories"—but, if slightly mislabeled, this splendid gathering does indeed embrace the ever-surprising variety of Singer's steady short-story artistry over the past 30 years. Read full book review >
THE POWER OF LIGHT by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: Oct. 20, 1981

"Like the others, it's a testament of faith—"Nothing but a miracle could have saved him, so a miracle occurred"—but without the ironies, the fabulous imaginings, the fingertip observations of Singer at his best."
Only now and again in these eight stories is the Singer stamp evident—in the appearance of a Yiddish-speaking parakeet at a Brooklyn window one frosty Hannukkah evening, in the eerie extinction of the Hanukkah candles at the same moment in every house in long-ago Bilgoray, on each of the holiday's first seven nights. Read full book review >
LOST IN AMERICA by Isaac Bashevis Singer
RELIGION
Released: June 5, 1981

"And despite the nonstop laments, this sharp, shapely memoir bounces along quite merrily—with the wicked, ironic grace of three or four overlapping Singer stories."
The Nobel Laureate continues his selective, semi-fictional memoirs—"contributions to an autobiography I never intend to write"—with a third, large-print volume illustrated by Raphael Soyer. Read full book review >
OLD LOVE by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1979

"A varied, bountiful, exuberant collection, then — and a perfect introduction for neophytes to the whole range of Singer's short-story artistry."
When do 18 very good stories add up to more than just 18 very good stories? Read full book review >
A FRIEND OF KAFKA by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 11, 1979

"These stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Commentary, Harper's, etc. A seasoned talent which seems to sharpen with the years."
The fifth—and quite possibly the most impressive—collection of Singer's richly crafted tales of Polish ghetto life and curious transmogrifications—from upper Broadway to South America and Europe. Read full book review >
SHOSHA by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 1978

"We miss the vividness, the claustrophobia of superior Singer; indubitably, upsettingly true, the story seems capped—and handicapped—with Destiny."
The threat of Nazi occupation throws a fence up around this story of Jewish Warsaw in the Thirties, locking it into patterns of blind dailyness and a sweet, enduring, ultimately fatal foolishness: "so long as Hitler didn't attack, so long as no revolution or pogrom erupted, each day was a gift from God." Read full book review >
A YOUNG MAN IN SEARCH OF LOVE by Isaac Bashevis Singer
RELIGION
Released: March 1, 1978

"We'll stay around."
As a young man in 1930s Warsaw, Singer lived inconspicuously on the edge of a successful brother's literary circle, tormented by philosophical doubts and youthful skepticisms, involved with a much-older mistress (a typical Singer grotesque) and on intimate terms with other, equally obsessed women. Read full book review >
NAFTALI THE STORYTELLER AND HIS HORSE, SUS by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 1976

"A delight."
Margot Zemach's rough sketches are appropriately peasantlike in feeling, though they barely hint at the richness of this collection which has greater range and vitality than any of Singer's previous work for children. Read full book review >
RELIGION
Released: May 1, 1976

"A plumb line to the rich primal sea of Singer's storytelling."
This essay will try to relate the experiences of one who considers himself a bit of a mystic," and in the light of Singer's introductory exegesis, one who is also a bit of a seeker, one with a nodding acquaintance with demons and the better angels. Read full book review >
A TALE OF THREE WISHES by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: March 1, 1976

"A moral pleasantry."
It seems that on the night of Hoshanah Rabbah there's a minute when the sky opens and wishes come true. Read full book review >
PASSIONS by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 6, 1975

"Many of these stories have appeared in the New Yorker."
The seventh collection of Singer's short stories, again centered on the lives of Yiddish-speaking Polish Jews in Europe and the Americas before and after the holocaust—but here the "whims and passions" which destroy, illuminate, and possess a life, often slip into a supernatural dimension. Read full book review >
WHY NOAH CHOSE THE DOVE by Elizabeth Shub
RELIGION
Released: March 15, 1974

"Of course the sheer scale and number of animals on parade could make this a nursery success."
Eric Carle couldn't ask for a more suitable showcase than Singer's short and obvious fable about how an elephant, a lion, a fox and 31 other animals vie to be taken onto the ark — each one claiming priority on grounds of being strongest, largest, cleverest, or whatever. Read full book review >
THE FOOLS OF CHELM AND THEIR HISTORY by Elizabeth Shub
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 1973

Singer's broadside history reminds us that the population of Chelm consists of no one but fools, and they've known nothing but trouble ever since Gronam Ox, first ruler and Sage of Sages, invented the word crisis. Read full book review >
ENEMIES, A LOVE STORY by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 26, 1972

"Enemies appeared in 1966 in The Jewish Daily Forward."
It is a measure of Singer's strength that he is able to utilize what is essentially a familiar farcical situation — a man married to three wives — to scour the empty room of one human soul pursued by the echoes of real and terrible enemies. Read full book review >
THE WICKED CITY by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: March 15, 1972

"Altogether, this is no more outrageous a violation than, say, Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales, but Singer's uneasy blend of the mythic and the colloquial make it hard to swallow whole, even with all those grains of salt."
The cautionary chronicle of Lot, elaborately embroidered: his sojourn in Sodom, his nick-of-time escape aided by Abraham and the two angels, his wife's well-known transformation, and his subsequent stay in the desert with his two daughters who "found a cave. . . and lived like savages. . . in filth and sin." Read full book review >
ALONE IN THE WILD FOREST (AN ARIEL BOOK) by Elizabeth Shub
Released: Sept. 15, 1971

"Vile enchantments and magical transformations make for some diverting episodes, and Margot Zemach's softly sly drawings provide the perfect accompaniment — but neither the good nor the evil have the force so effectively demonstrated in The Fearsome Inn (1967)"
Somewhere between Singer's universally compelling folk tales and his flatly pious fables is this story of a good man who wins the princess and a bad man redeemed after doing penance with a beastly witch in the forest. Read full book review >
ELIJAH THE SLAVE by Elizabeth Shub
FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES AND MYTHS
Released: Nov. 1, 1970

"Arid — and the illustrations pose gaunt, awkward figures derived from early medieval miniatures against sweeping bands of color: the effect is mannered, discordant, altogether offputting for children."
Heavenly intercession spawns many legends but it takes more than providence to make a story. Read full book review >
JOSEPH AND KOZA by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: Sept. 29, 1970

"In sum, the exhibit format is unwarranted as well as impractical."
A Michelangelesque setting for a simple story of how Joseph, a goldsmith of Jerusalem, brought the word of God to Mazovia, a Polish realm on the Vistula, challenging the practice of human sacrifice, discrediting the witch Zla and the evil spirits she invokes, and gaining the love of Koza, the Chieftain's beautiful daughter who was to have been offered to the river. Read full book review >
A DAY OF PLEASURE by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: Oct. 1, 1969

Growing up in Warsaw with Mr. Singer offers more than a day of pleasure to families who joined him In My Father's Court, from which fourteen of these nineteen episodes are adapted. Read full book review >
A DAY OF PLEASURE by Isaac Bashevis Singer
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 1969

"MPSLUGMISTER Singer's words as Grandfather-storyteller are best read aloud and interpreted by a grandfather who shares his memories, who can communicate Singer's hindsights with the authority and spirit of his insights, who can mediate between Singer's remoteness to the child and his greatness."
Growing up in Warsaw with Mr. Singer offers more than a day of pleasure to families who joined him In My Father's Court, from which fourteen of these nineteen episodes are adapted. Read full book review >
THE SEANCE AND OTHER STORIES by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 14, 1968

"Exuberant humor, a somber regard for the sacred mysteries of human destinies, and magnificent story telling."
The fourth collection of stories by the spiritual heir to Sholom Aleichem, unique in their variety of approach and emotional scope. Read full book review >
THE MANOR by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 30, 1967

"Singer has his readership which will not find that the heavily descriptive Jewish lore slows the narrative or a natural curiosity in its outcome."
Isaac Singer's novel, set in Poland during the latter half of the 19th century, is a sprawling family history—the fates of Calman Jacoby, rural Jewish businessman, and his four daughters (or rather the destinies determined through their marriages). Read full book review >
THE FEARSOME INN by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FANTASY
Released: Sept. 1, 1967

"The drawings have to be seen, as does the book, impeccably produced down to paper and type; the story must be read, by adults as well as children, but best together."
Impacted writing and resplendent illustration at the service of an authentically harrowing, distinctively satisfying story: it starts with Satan and ends with heavenly light, and you believe it. Read full book review >
IN MY FATHER'S COURT by Isaac Bashevis Singer
RELIGION
Released: May 2, 1966

"Effortlessness is a quality of Singer's writing, as is its endemic richness- and the rightness for its material, and it reads with as much ease as it appears to be written."
Isaac Bashevis Singer's recollections of No. 10 Korochmalna Street in Warsaw where his father officiated as a rabbi and took on the legal duties of that estate, offers him ample opportunity to give scope to his portrayal of ghetto characters. Read full book review >
THE SLAVE by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 11, 1962

"Exciting, exotic, quite moving, The Slave could do very well indeed."
Set in 17th century Poland, at a time when marauding Ukranian Cossacks perpetrated the most helnous of crimes against the Jewish populace, Singer's novel traces the development of Taimudle scholar Jacob Josefov from his literal bondage among the pagan-Christian peasants to his existential freedom from the fetters of doctrinal commitment. Read full book review >
THE SPINOZA OF MARKET STREET by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: June 15, 1961

"There is a very old, durable and sage glow to these stories; the translators deserve kudos."
The title story in this collection is a quaint study of an eccentric, fading philosopher in Warsaw just before World War I. Dr. Nahun Fischelson's nose is buried in Spinoza's Ethics and his murky eye confronts the future. Read full book review >
THE MAGICIAN OF LUBLIN by Isaac Bashevis Singer
Released: May 1, 1960

"Almost a parable, Yasha of Lublin will have intense sympathizers, primarily among Jewish readers."
The position of Yasha Mazur in nineteenth century Poland was doubly anomalous: as a prestidigitator, hypnotist, and tight rope performer, par excellence, he mingled with and was acclaimed by every level of society and at the same time consigned to the statusless ranks of the bohemian; as a half-Jew he suffered all the restrictions placed on non-Gentiles in that society without enjoying the spiritual security the ghetto provided observant Jews. Read full book review >
GIMPEL THE FOOL by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 21, 1957

"Various translators have kept the simplicity and native characteristics of the stories which, in their sly mirroring of human frailties and their compassion for man's attempts to be strong, have a universal note."
Twelve short stories stem from Jewish life in Poland and, while most have a folk-legend quality, there are a few which have a contemporary setting. Read full book review >
SATAN IN GORAY by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 4, 1955

"For a very limited audience — not that of his contemporary novel, The Family Moskat."
A strange story for modern readers of a tiny town on 17th century Poland, where first the Jewish population is decimated by the marauding Cossacks- then, as they creep back to reestablish their homes and businesses, comes the news of a Messiah, in the person of Sabbatai Zevi. Read full book review >
THE FAMILY MOSKAT by Isaac Bashevis Singer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 15, 1950

"A detailed accounting of a part of the past, of a type of life and people now wiped out, this is impressive in its scope."
A closely meshed, heavily patterned family saga, this covers the years from before World War I and up to the bombing of Warsaw of World War II in the fortunes of the Mosk. Read full book review >