LOVE AND EXILE
An Autobiographical Trilogy
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). The new material consists of a 21-page introduction in which the Nobel Prize winner, more straightforwardly than in previous childhood memoirs (cf. In My Father's Court), outlines the literary/personal influences of his earliest years on Warsaw's Krochmalna Street: his older brother Joshua's atheism, in contrast to orthodoxy and Chassidim; the far-flung stories that appeared in the Yiddish newspapers; his father's courtroom, of course, a school "where I could study the human soul, its caprices, its yearnings, its barriers." And, above all, complementing his father's Torah-centered good nature: his mother's skepticism, pessimism, and sharpness. ("Every news item made her wince in resentment against the Creator who could see all this misery and remain silent. . . I once heard her say 'I hate the human species.' ") No surprises for Singer veterans, then, but a welcome package for newcomers.