Reaction Weekend

Lost Classic: Satan in Goray, by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Lost Classic is the Reaction series in which we highlight great works that are under-appreciated or forgotten

BY Toby Guise | tweet tobyguise   /  27 September 2019

Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Satan in Goray is a study of what happens when people try “to resolve a hundred dilemmas with one answer”. The dilemmas in question are those besetting Poland’s Jewish community in the year 1666; eighteen years after it was all but obliterated by vicious pogroms at the hands of the neighbouring Ukrainian warlord, whose men “sewed live cats into the bellies of women”. As the survivors trickle back to the town of Goray, they want to know why God let this calamity befall a humble and devout people. Was their observance incorrect? Or was it a sign of the End Times, and will they soon be borne victorious to Israel on a golden cloud?


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