THE INN by Julian Stryjkowski

THE INN

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This story of the gradual encirclement and gathering doom in the lives of Galician Jews during World War I by a Polish author transmutes an isolated tragedy into a delicate allegory of the Jewish experience or any people who ""have had to wind their way along a narrow passage of interdicts and edicts."" The innkeeper Tag, a kind of apocryphal Noah, a unifying chorus of tragedy and fortress of human dignity, offers sanctuary to the bewildered and dispossessed. Under his roof come a grieving boy with his dead love -- a young girl shot by soldiers; a ""Flock of Hallowed"" Hassids with their angel-wrestling tsaddik and their chattering women; village representatives of various religious and social views; and a confused Hussar. While the God-drunk Hassids pray and dance, while some mourn and others ponder a way out of the storm to come, Tag, with gentleness and decency, cares for his guests. The threatened disaster begins with a confrontation in the village square between Cossacks and leading Jews -- now obviously deserted by gentile friends since an innocent boy is hung and devastation seems inevitable. But Tag, sadly attended by a Catholic priest, dedicated to his friend's ""salvation,"" sets out to demand justice: ""One must save what can be saved."" The author has caught the vitality of a vanished folk ethic and community and has abstracted from it a statement concerning man's endurance through a dark night of inhumanity.

Pub Date: March 8th, 1972
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich