The Magician of Lublin by Isaac Bashevis Singer ; Translated from the Yiddish by Elaine Gottlieb and Joseph Singer
New York : Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1978. Seventh Printing. Inscribed by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Hardcover. 246 pages ; 22 cm. $9.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding firm.
Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER
The Magician of Lublin
The warm and funny hero of this unpredictable novel set in late-nineteenth-century Poland is Yasha Mazur—master magician, skeptic, mind reader, lover, hypnotist, tightrope walker, apostate, escape artist, and holy man. Yasha's Houdini-like feats of derring-do make him the most popular entertainer in Warsaw, yet his talents go unrecognized outside of Poland. Determined to prove himself the greatest magician in the world, he devises a plan to spread his fame that involves running away to Italy with Emilia, one of his mistresses. But as the date of their departure draws near, Yasha grows reluctant to give up his easy life of wine, women, and song for an uncertain fate with Emilia. His indecisiveness results in a fantastic series of misadventures, and in the end, almost inadvertently, Yasha turns to crime in an attempt to resolve his dilemma. The climax of this novel, describing a remarkable stunt that takes the magician to the brink of danger and disaster, shows Isaac Bashevis Singer at the height of his unique storytelling powers.
When The Magician of Lublin was first published in 1960, Irving Howe wrote in Commentary: "Simply as a literary performer, Singer has few peers among living writers... Everything springs to life, everything trembles with the breath of actuality." And Vivian Mercier said in The Hudson Review: "Singer's novel is all of a piece, like those of Snow and Sarraute, but it also contains a Dionysian quality which may yet project its author beyond those two Apollonians and into the front rank of twentieth-century novelists."
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