Der Nister Nister Der
- Title: The Family Mashber: A Novel
- Author: Der Nister Nister Der
- ISBN: 9780671527686
- Page: 321
- Format: Hardcover
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A vast family epic, teeming with memorable characters, this masterwork of a Russian Jewish writer is published here in English for the first time and tells the centrifugal tale about the decline of a prosperous family in mid 19th century Russia.
Recent Comments "The Family Mashber: A Novel"
According to the back cover of this very (very very) long book, it is a "protean work*: a tale of a divided family and divided souls, a panoramic picture of an Eastern European town**, a social satire, a kabbalistic allegory, an innovative fusion of modernist art*** and traditional storytelling, a tale of weird humor**** and mounting tragic power, embellished with a host of uncanny and fantastical figures drawn from the depth of the unconscious*****." I have to say, the book is true to the descr [...]
Imagine a trilogy written in Yiddish in the Soviet Union at the height of the Stalinist Era, a trilogy whose final third disappeared with the author, Pinhas Kahanovich (1884-1950) being arrested and dying in a prison hospital. Imagine a saga of Dostoyevskian proportions, and also filled with Kabbalistic imagery, foretastes of magic realism, and Socialist Realism (both to placate the censors and to throw them off).Kahanovich adopted Der Nister as his pen-name early in his career, a calque of Yidd [...]
The author, Dara Horn, in her book, THE WORLD TO COME, introduced me to the author, Der Nister (Pinchas Kahanovitch's pen name), and I'm so glad she did! A mid-19th century family and societal saga written in Russia in Yiddish (now translated) by a well-known author who knew Chagall and was murdered by Stalin, the book opens up for the reader a whole world that no longer exists. Characters both strong and weak, religious and secular, proud and humble; a world that ceased existing first under the [...]
NO SPOILERSHaving struggled through 152 pages, I am giving up. I cannot feel close to any of the numerous characters. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, but too much so for my taste. I agree that after reading a page or two describing a person's clothes, how they are put on, how clean they are, what buttons are buttoned , body characteristics such as slopping shoulders, uneven walk, facial details including the color of the complexion, the shape of the eyebrows, whether he laughs or pouts o [...]
This book, not only because of its length, took me a long time to read, a longer time than other books of the same length, even histories. How did I remain interested in the book while also falling asleep during the middle of some of its sentences? Partly because this is a book that should be read aloud. The narrative voice changes your perceptions of the descriptions. It is the voice of someone with an evocative memory of the places and times described, and aware that you can only be connected [...]
Being conscious that this was written under communist censorship-there are glaring instances of the author appeasing the censors. That said, this is a masterpiece. If you are drawn to this book, I assume you are familiar with Eastern Jewish history. If not,you may not appreciate the characters and their depictions, the mysticism and the nuances in the story and stories with in. Mashber means crisis in Hebrew and this is truly a family of 3 brothers that are all subject to "crisis"
When I worked with Steven on a Yiddish Lit class, this was the gem. Of all the writing on shtetl life that we discussed, this was, perhaps, the best. Der Nister adds a mystical touch to his religious characters as well as a harsh examination of desperate people in an unforgiving world.
I must say that I was skeptical. The Family Mashber (the title itself provides the coming attractions, as "Mashber" is Hebrew for "crisis") looked to me to be just another, relatively run-of-the-mill, multi-generational saga with Jewish characters and a mid-nineteenth century flavor. Sure, I figured that there would be interesting depictions of the Shtetl and the period, but I wasn't sure that it would be anything that I hadn't heard or read before. I also wasn't so sure that I would find myself [...]
This is a breath-taking story of a society in dissolution. Ostensibly it is about the Mashber family, whose patriarch’s - a financier and money-lender - through a large loan gone bad and the cascading effect of that, finances are in serious decline. The story takes place among ritualistic devout Jews living in a large suburb of Berdichev, Ukraine. While the characterizations are vivid there is a sense that they are dead men walking, in the sense that any value and meaning that life once had wa [...]
Or, further, he would suddenly take on a quarrel with the greatest and most famous of the town's rabbis over a matter of ritual purity put to the rabbi by some poor woman. The matter at issue was some dish the poor woman had cooked for a sick person in the family, and when the rabbi prevailed and declared that the food was ritually unclean and could not be eaten, then Sruli would ask the woman who was already leaving where she lived. And very soon after he would show up at her door bringing anot [...]
Although it is impossible to expand the canon of world literature wide enough to include every deserving author, Der Nister is fully deserving of being read more widely. Yiddish literature includes many well written novels, although far too few are available in translation, but The Family Mashber represents something unique to Yiddish literature. Although unfinished, The Family Mashber is on par with other "epic" novels like War and Peace or The Brothers Karamazov. Der Nister forms complete char [...]
3 y medio. Libro redondo en el sentido que crea un universo propio, con un dibujo psicologico de los personajes muy acertado y una evolución muy estudiada así comola estructura Penaliza que el libro se hace moroso a veces.
A masterpiece in yiddish literature
Although this book was engrossing, I have to put it aside for right now, as it makes me too anxious to read at the moment (for reasons I won't get into here). So it goes back into the "to-read" pile.
The Family Mashber centers on two brothers in a town in the Russian part of Poland in the 19th century. Its author, who goes by the pen name Der Nister, began by writing mystical stories, but turned to this more or less realistic mode as his earlier work was frowned upon. The Family Mashber is enormously detailed in its telling, with every item of clothing and dish on the table described in a way that brings a vanished world to life. He also imbues his story with a magical undercurrent, as the m [...]
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