THE SONG OF SONGS by Sholom Aleichem


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 An illustrated gift edition of a previously untranslated novella (written in 190911) by the beloved Yiddish master (The Bloody Hoax, 1992, etc.), whose matchless feel for the fabric of his culture is brilliantly displayed even in this deliberately simple story. It's the tale, told by himself, of young Shimek's helpless forbidden love for his beautiful niece Esther (``Buzie''), the daughter of his dead older brother. The pair are raised as brother and sister, and so Shimek's veiled declarations of love (using the complex language of the biblical Song of Songs) are interpreted by all as simple fraternal affection. Afraid to unburden himself, he leaves his village to pursue a career as a scholar and finds, years afterward, that he can return neither to the bosom of his family nor even to innocent intimacy with the ``enchanted princess'' of his youthful dreams. The story is very slight and, by any rational standard, very minor Aleichem. It's also irresistible.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-684-81486-2
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1996