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The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

The Magician of Lublin - Isaac Bashevis Singer Extremely enjoyable novel by Isaac Singer about the lecherous and then pious life of a secularist Jewish showman in early 20th century Poland.

As usual Singer is masterful in picturing the past. At this time even without being encyclopedic and perfectionist as he was in, say, "Shadows on the Hudson".
Albeit I use to like long novels full of details without any aspect or detail left, I have to say how at the moment I prefer something like "The Magician of Lublin". There is no single boring or out-of-place moment while reading this plausible fable.

The protagonist, Yasha, is at the same time determinate and doubtful, self-indulgent and self-critical, strong and weak. He made a career as a magician and gained a reputation as an entertainer, but doesn't know if leaving Poland for becoming a better paid showman. He doesn't care about religion, but feel the fascination of his Jewish roots wondering about the meaning of existence. Besides, and this is the worst of his contraddictions, he has many lovers in virtually all the towns he visits, but is not able to quit any kind of relationship.

Hence, no surprise that it takes just a little mistake by his side for falling down (literally and metaphorically). Then suddenly Yasha's life start to change making still a popular man out of him, but with a completely different kind of success.