Collected Stories, By Isaac Bashevis Singer

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The Independent Culture

IB Singer emigrated from Poland to New York in the mid-1930s, but this fabulous selection of 47 tales shows that – in imagination – the magician of Yiddish fiction never left home.

With their tightrope balance of comedy and heartbreak, and pitch-perfect shifts of register between the sensual and spiritual realms, his stories reside in the myth-shadowed world of the shtetls even when their characters look out on the tenements of the Lower East Side.

Here, in English versions often co-translated by Singer, are landmarks such as "Gimpel the Fool", "A Friend of Kafka" and "Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy" (on film, an unlikely vehicle for Barbra Streisand) as well as lesser-known gems. No richer anthology of fiction will appear this year.