BY BLUME LEMPEL
Translated from Yiddish by Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub
Co-published by MANDEL VILAR PRESS and DRYAD PRESS
Finalist Foreword Reviews, 2016 Indie Awards in Short Stories/ Book Riot’s 100 Must Read Books on Women and Religion
Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyabu Ahron Taub on encountering Blume Lempel's stories:
When we began reading and translating, we didn’t know we were going to find a mother drawn into an incestuous relationship with her blind son. We didn’t know we’d meet a young woman lying on the table at an abortion clinic. We didn’t know we’d encounter a middle-aged woman full of erotic imaginings as she readies herself for a blind date. Buried in this forgotten Yiddish-language material, we found modernist stories and modernist story-telling techniques – imagine reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez with the conversational touch of Grace Paley.
“Blume Lempel’s short story collection is a splendid surprise and a significant revivification of a brilliantly robust Yiddish-American writer.” Cynthia Ozick
“These stories are a remarkable achievement. . . . She [writes] with modernist acuity…With shrewdness, wit, and lyricism, Lempel gives voice to the women, the aging, the ill, and others who, from the margins of modern society, have had trouble making themselves heard.” Kirkus Reviews
"Stunning...a brilliant, talented writer with one foot in the prewar world in Europe and the other in postwar America....Highly recommended for all collections of Jewish literature."
Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
"...an eclectic, original and inventive collection..."
"These are stories that deserve a cherished place in the canon of Jewish literature."
"These spare, skillful tales are both introspective and illuminating."
Philip K. Jason in Washington Independent Review of Books
One of Book Riot's 100 Must-Read Books about Women and Religion
"...rescuing a fine writer from oblivion." Howard Freedman, Jweekly.com
"Strange, muscled, riven with grief, Blume Lempel's short stories are for the ages." C.M.Mayo
“...an unusual and important voice”
Reviews by Amos Lassen
“Blume Lempel conducts a conversation across multiple time zones and spheres . . . a heroic effort to create and sustain a choir of voices in Yiddish, her beloved and endangered language.” David G. Roskies, author of Yiddishlands: A Memoir
“A wonderfully original and controversial writer…. Blume Lempel left a remarkable legacy that this beautifully translated volume finally makes accessible to a wider audience.” Anita Norich, author of Writing in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century
“The thematic and stylistic scope of Blume Lempel’s writing, as demonstrated admirably by Cassedy and Taub’s translations, is wide and richly integrated.” Jeffrey Shandler, author of Adventures in Yiddishland: Post-vernacular Language and Culture
“This new translation of Blume Lempel’s stories reanimates the melody of Yiddish, the mame-loshen . . . As one of her characters puts it: ‘No world language is comparable to Yiddish, to the Yiddish sigh, the Yiddish sense of humor.’” Victoria Aarons, author of What Happened to Abraham?
THE AUTHOR AND TRANSLATORS
Blume Lempel (1907–1999) was born in Khorostkiv (now Ukraine). She immigrated to Paris in 1929 and fled to New York on the eve of World War II. She wrote in Yiddish into the 1990s. Her prize-winning fiction is remarkable for its psychological acuity, its unflinching examination of erotic themes and gender relations, and its technical virtuosity. Her subjects like her settings -- Poland, Brooklyn, Tel Aviv, California – range widely. A Holocaust survivor speaks to the shadows in her garden; a pious old woman imagines a juicy romance; a New York commuter forges a bond with a homeless woman; middle-aged woman opens her heart on a blind date; an argumentative couple gets lost in a blizzard; a bus tour of Yosemite Park calls to mind an Old World bride and a bolt of lightning. In the breath taking title story, a mother and son move are drawn steadily into a relationship from which there is only one escape. Mirroring the dislocation of mostly women protagonists, her stories move between present and past, Old World and New, dream and reality. This book is the first English language collection and translation of Lempel’s stories and is based on a manuscript that won the 2012 National Yiddish Book Center Translation Prize.
The Yiddish Book Center awarded Blume Lempel & Other Stories the 2012 Yiddish Translation Prize.
Ellen Cassedy, co-translator, is the author of We Are Here, which explored the world of the Lithuanian Holocaust and won numerous awards, including the Grub Street National Book Prize for Nonfiction. She is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Hadassah, The Jewish Forward,. She lives in Takoma, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, co-translator, is the author of four volumes of poetry, Prayers of a Heretic/Tfiles fun an apikoyres (2013), Uncle Feygele (2011), What Stillness Illuminated/Vos shtilkayt hot baloykhtn (2008), and The Insatiable Psalm(2005). Honored by the Museum of Jewish Heritage as one of New York’s best emerging Jewish artists, Taub has been nominated twice for a Best of the Net Award and four times for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Washington, D.C.
MANDEL VILAR PRESS: (www.mvpress.org) is the nonprofit publishing arm of Americas for Conservation and the Arts (http://americasforconservation.org/). MVP is dedicated to connecting the literature of the Americas by uniting the works of the best writers of Latin and Latino America with the leading ethnic and minority writers of North America. Founded in 2015,
DRYAD PRESS: (www.dryadpress.com) began as a publisher of poetry in 1975, bringing out finely-designed books by new and established poets, among them Linda Pastan, Reed Whittemore, and James Wright. The Press began expanding its list and for more than twenty years has been publishing fiction and non-fiction, including books of Jewish literary interest.
ISBN: 978-1-942134-21-3; Paperback with Flaps 240 Pages, $16.95
ISBN: 978-1-942134-25-1;Cloth $26.95 240 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-942134-22-0 E-Book $9.99 240 Pages
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