“A splendid surprise and a significant revivication of a brilliantly robust Yiddish American writer.”
author of Critics, Monsters, Fanatics,
and Other Literary Matters
Blume Lempel is a fearless storyteller whose imagination skilfully moves between the realistic and the fantastic, the lyrical and the philosophical. Her subjects like her settings – Paris, Poland, Brooklyn, Tel Aviv, California – range widely. A Holocaust survivor speaks to the shadows in her garden; a pious old woman imagines romance; a New York subway commuter forges a bond with a homeless woman; a middle-aged woman opens her heart on a blind date; an argumentative couple gets lost in a blizzard; and in the title story, a mother is drawn into an incestuous relationship with her blind son. Readers of these superbly translated stories by Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub are in for a stunning literary journey.Translators Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub won the Translation Prize in 2012, awarded by the Yiddish Book Center.
Blume Lempel (1907-1999) was born in Khorostkiv (now Ukraine). She immigrated to Paris in 1929 and fled to New York on the eve of World War II. She wrote in Yiddish into the 1990s. Her prize-winning fiction is remarkable for its psychological acuity, its unflinching examination of erotic themes and gender relations, and its technical virtuosity. Mirroring the dislocation of mostly women protagonists, her stories move between present and past, Old World and New, dream and reality. This book is the first English language collection and translation of Lempel’s stories and is based on a manuscript that won the 2012 National Yiddish Book Center Translation Prize.