Bashevis Singer’s The Magician of Lublin

Digging Singer’s The Magician of Lublin, a precursor to his Enemies, A Love Story. Magician is more folksy, more humane so far; it takes place in Poland before the wars, and Yasha seems less conflicted than Herman Broder.

Singer is a natural writer, and his prose never feels forced or put-on. He breaks a bunch of silly narrative “rules” that bad writers tend to adhere to, he is never boring, his sentences are never dull. Small and fleeting characters are robust; Singer gives them interesting things to say and do.

The novel first appeared in English in 1960 and the Times reviewed it. Adam Kirsch wrote about Magician in The New Republic five years ago, its 50th anniversary.