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A Friend of Kafka Paperback – August 1, 1979

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


“The fifth--and quite possibly the most impressive--collection of Singer's richly crafted tales of Polish ghetto life and curious transmogrifications.” ―Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

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.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (August 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374515387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374515386
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,729,103 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By David Brockert on March 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Mr. Singer is a wonderful writer. I have read several of his books and found them all entertaining and interesting. Apparently these stories were written in Yiddish or German because they all needed to be translated. This is interesting because he has lived in United States of America for a long time and I would have thought he would have written in English. I guess that he must have been writing for publication in special newspapers and magazines.
Most all of these stories all end in a death. Sometimes it is okay, the person dies and leaves a legacy that will be remembered for all time, other times it is their just desserts. All of these stories are worthy and interesting.

'A Friend of Kafka' - the friend is Jacques Kohn, a destitute actor, living in Warsaw. The writer is a writer (later on he sells a story) and both Jacques and the author frequent a writer's club. Jacques was born a Hasidic Jew in some small town in Poland named Jankel. He changed his name while in some of the capitals of Europe: Prague, Vienna, Berlin, etc. He had and was friendly with various celebrities of the day, but now he is down and out. He tries to look better than he is but the folks he knows, know him for who he is. Throughout the story he pokes fun at Jewishness ("Jews remember too much.") and his associates, former and present. He claims to be haunted by Fate, who is trying to bring him down, but to play the game (not necessarily to win, but certainly not to lose) is why Jacques keeps on keeping on.

'Guests on a Winter Night' - Isaac's (5 to 10 years old) Aunt Itta Fruma has come to with his family. She has lost the house she had been living in.
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