The Family Moskat
Isaac Bashevis Singer
The vanished civilization of the Eastern European Jews is the subject of this magnificent modern novel. All the strata of this rich, complex society were populated by powerfully individual personalities, and the whole scene pulsated with life and vitality. The affairs of the patriarchal Meshulam Moskat and his numerous progeny and the unworldly Asa Heshel Bannet provide the center of the book, but the real hero of The Family Moskat is the civilization that vanished into the gas chambers twenty years ago. As The New York Times reviewer said of it when it was first published in 1950, “One can’t helping thinking of the label ‘a novel in the grand manner,’ when speaking of this sprawling, enormous, multi-peopled chronicle of Jewish life in Warsaw from the beginning of our century to World War II. One wave of events tumbles over the next, one group of people pushes out the other. Life is a horizonless sea, full of currents, storms, animal and vegetable life. . . . Saints mingle with crooks, medieval rabbis with hyper-modern painters, determined Zionists with mystic philosophers. . . . Out of all this there rises a sense of life—boundless, frustrated, but undying. . . .”
Awarded the Louis Lamed Prize upon its first publication, The Family Moskat has gradually won the status of a great world classic, and its author is coming to be recognized as one of the great writers of our time.