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The Family Moskat: A Novel (FSG Classics) Paperback – April 3, 2007


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The Family Moskat: A Novel (FSG Classics) + The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer
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Product Details

  • Series: FSG Classics
  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (April 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374530645
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374530648
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,302 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Singer’s deep-running narrative makes a microcosm of the Warsaw ghetto. Reminiscent in scope of the great Russian novels of the nineteenth century, his novel moves with the leisure of abundance—eddying, pausing, plunging. Its surface ripples with passages of delicate description, trenchant dialogue and precisely observed detail; its depths roll forward with the heavy, hidden surge of life itself.”—Time

“The Family Moskat, although it deals with an era that has been buried in the ashes of the Holocaust, retains its strength, and has an appeal that will fascinate all readers.” –Detroit Jewish News

About the Author

Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904-91) was the author of many novels, stories, and children's books. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Adam on October 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a warm, multi-generation story about a large Jewish family in Warsaw and in my view Singer's finest novel. The focus is on the human relationships within the family, magnificently and movingly described; but the novel's edge comes from the constant intrusion of grim outside reality, the tormented history of Poland between the Congress of Vienna in 1815 and the second-world-war Nazi storming of the Warsaw Ghetto. Counterpoint between inner and outer reality, between public and private life, between flesh and spirit, makes this book not just another family saga but a statement about Jewish (and non-Jewish) humanity at large. In that, "The Family Muskat" is characteristic of Singer's work - it is his universality, not his particularity, which makes him one of the most respected writers in modern times.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A powerful tale of a Jewish family over several genrations ending with the German army at the gates of warsaw and the destruction of the vibrant Jewish communities in Warsaw close at hand.An in depths description of the life of the Jews in Poland over the last century writen in a highly realistic unsentimental style but with a certain affection on the part of the author. Better than any history textbook.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. A Magill VINE VOICE on November 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
By any standard, the word sweeping well suits Singer's novel "The Family Moskat." The novel spreads over almost a century of transformative history, ending at the outbreak of World War II, which will see before its end the entire civilization represented transformed into nothing but ash. Yet in the fashion of Tolstoy, Singer does not allow the great events he illustrates - WWI, the birth of modern Poland, the destruction of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, the 1917 Revolution, the rise of Zionism - to consume the story he tells, instead using it as a canvas on which he brings his characters to life.

His diverse cast is also linked through their ties of either blood or marriage to Mashulam Moskat, the patriarch of the family of the novel's title. A wealthy Jew with many children, Singer uses his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to move over every crevice of Jewish life in Poland, from those who emigrated to America or Palestine, to the Hasidim of the small towns, to the urban intellectuals and merchants. In every case he paints a portrait at once sensitive yet real. Indeed, much of the criticism of this work has come from those who found Singer's portrayal, with its often flawed characters, as "too real." Yet Singer was a man seeking to offer later generations a window into a world that vanished in his lifetime in a flash of gas and violence; who can blame him for wishing to make it as true to life as he was able?

I must also mention that this FSG edition is truly beautiful, complete with a useful family tree that can help the reader navigate the maze of relationships in the Byzantine Moskat clan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Farlee on August 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I moved to this book just after finishing a fast-paced historical novel ("Pompeii" by Robert Harris), and had to change gears before I could begin to really enjoy this. It isn't the type of novel where a lot "happens"--but it is a beautifully nuanced portrayal of life in a particular community--eastern European Jewish, early 20th century--and even more, of universally human life. The characters interact in believable ways, the descriptions are deep without being stultifying, and I was left deeply satisfied.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By H.J. van der Klis on December 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
Diverse boeken van IB Singer heb ik jaren geleden gelezen, op één of andere wijze is me toen De familie Moskat ontschoten. Singer schreef dit joodse familie epos direct na de Tweede Wereldoorlog om de weggevaagde joodse gemeenschap in Polen te schetsen. Alle schakeringen, van de godsdienst, politiek, grote gezinnen, ontwikkelingen in werk, kleding, woonplaats en opvattingen, maar vooral de pendule tussen assimiliatie en vasthouden aan de eigen traditie. Wat maakt iemand jood(s)? Wat laat je als pater familias Mesjulam Moskat achter als je sterft? Wat breng je in als buitenstaander (Asa Hesjel)? Wat brengen Spinoza en Herzl aan de 'moderne jood'? Wat is het nut van een filosofie die netjes Het laboratorium van geluk heet, maar volgens de feitelijke hoofdpersoon in het boek, Asa Hesjel, neerkomt op 'meer bed, minder kinderen'? Wat is liefde als je polygaam, zelfs nymfomaan bent, en hoe rijm je dat met je godsdienst? Het boek beschrijft de decennia vóór de Tweede Wereldoorlog en Hitlers bombardementen van Warschau, de komst van concentratiekampen en de naderende vernietiging van het joodse ras. Het laat ongeveinsd de antisemitische wortels in de Poolse samenleving, maar ook de ambivalente levenswijze van de joden in dit land zien. En waar bijvoorbeeld de sluwe Koppel dacht in Amerika veilig te zijn, komt hij uiteindelijk toch in Polen te overlijden, evenmin als Hadassa (Griekse naam: Esther) ondanks haar meelijwekkend verhaal ontkomt aan het noodlot. De tientallen kinderen, verhalen en intriges komen in een seidermaaltijd vlak voor het begin van de oorlog weer bij elkaar, maar de verlossing is anders dan verwacht. Beklememnd eindigt het boek met de constatering 'De dood is de Messias. Dat is de eigenlijke waarheid." Niet voor niets heeft Singer de Nobelprijs voor de literatuur!
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