A Book That Was Lost: And Other Stories
Many storytellers have arisen to tell the story of East European Jewry, but the achievement of S.Y. Agnon remains singular. His canvas is wider, his erudition vaster, his humor wittier, his irony subtler. Above all, like any great writer, his art transcends the limits of its ostensible subject. To be sure, Agnon's writing is inseparably entwined with the very particular culture of Polish Jewry and its continuation in the Land of Israel. At the same time, however, his art explores the universal questions that preoccupy great writing in all modern cultures: the fragmentary and fallen nature of human experience after the collapse of community and faith, and, as a counterbalance, the turn toward writing with its mythic possibilities and its linguistic and textual playfulness.
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A book that was lost and other storiesUser Review - Book Verdict
This posthumous collection of short stories by Hebrew literature's only Nobelist (Shira, LJ 9/15/89) includes many pieces that are appearing in English for the first time complete with an autobiographical framework and an introduction for all 25 stories. There are stories that portray the rich Jewish culture of Agnon's hometown in Poland grouped under the title "Buczacz: The Epic Life of One Town." These stories were written in the last years of his life and evoke in an imaginative, coherent fashion the lost world of East European Jewry. In the section titled "Artists in the Land of Israel," Agnon presents a series of self-portraits that give narrative form to the writer's understanding of himself, his community, his art, and the Jewish past. Other sections include "Stories of Germany" and "The Search for Meaning." Readers of Agnon as well as new readers will savor this work. Recommended for all large collections.--Molly Abramowitz, Silver Spring, Md.
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Limited preview - 2000