A House with Seven Windows by Kadya Molodowsky is the famed Yiddish poet's only collection of short stories. Written in simple prose, these stories are subtle portraits-tragic-comic, bittersweet, always generous spirited-of ordinary people: Jews in pre-World War II Eastern Europe and Jews struggling to adjust to life in America.
A traditional-minded husband is defeated by his wife who wants only the latest fashion. A community leader's position is supported and maintained by his more energetic and political- minded wife. A couple, ardent supporters of the newly formed state of Israel, nevertheless find themselves at odds with their son who intends to live there.
An American Jew who almost single-handedly supports his shtetl in Europe returns to find that it has been obliterated by the Nazis. A couple, newly arrived from the DP camps in Europe, struggles to set sail on the wide seas of America and succeeds, but at a price. While many of the stories are set in Europe and are, in fact, memoirs of Jewish shtetl life, others depict the classic dilemmas of immigrants wrestling with their own identity-stories about adapting to a new culture yet attempting to maintain traditional customs, stories about the inability of one generation to understand the other.
Molodowsky's lucid style and keen observation of the absurd and the sublime offer readers beautifully crafted stories filled with richly drawn character portraits.
About the translator:
Leah Schoolnik has translated other prose works by Kadya Molodowsky and short stories by Yossl Birstein, Avrom Dubleman, Pincas Berniker, and Osher Schuchinsky.
Paperback Book Syracuse University Press 2006
Yiddish in Translation
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