Isaac's Torah: Concerning the Life of Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld Through Two World Wars, Three Concentration Camps and Five Motherlands : a Novel

Front Cover
Handsel Books, 2008 - Fiction - 306 pages
1 Review
This novel is the saga in five parts of Isaac Jacob Blumenfeld, who grows up in Kolodetz, a small town near Lvov, which, when he's a boy, belongs to the Hapsburg Empire, but which subsequently belongs to Poland, Soviet Russia, Germany, and then Russia again. Isaac survives the absurdity and horror of Eastern Europe during the 20th century by pretending to be a fool. If this is an old Jewish art, then Isaac is a consummate artist. He plays the fool all his life, from his boyhood in Kolodetz shetl to the time when he is an accused war criminal in a Gulag in Siberia.

Inseparable from Isaac's life and story are the Yiddish jokes and fables of Kolodetz. These and the counsel of his dear friend, the rabbi and chair of the atheist club in Kolodetz, Shmuel Ben David, sustain Isaac through two world wars, three concentration camps, and five motherlands. The book puts on record, with full art, what is perhaps the central story of the last one hundred years. It is a wise book.

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

About the author (2008)

Angel Wagenstein

Angel Wagenstein is a prizewinning Bulgarian novelist. His novel, Isaac's Torah, has been published in Bulgaria, Germany, Russia, France, the Czech Republic, and is forthcoming from Handsel Books. Farewell, Shanghai, his third novel, won the Jean Monnet award in 2004.

Elizabeth Frank

Elizabeth Frank is a Professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Bard College.


Deliana Simeonova

Deliana Simeonova was born in Bulgaria and studied English philology and American literature at the University of Sofia. She has worked for civil-society NGOs in Tajikistan, Serbia, Liberia, and now does that work in her native Bulgaria.

Bibliographic information