Crown of Feathers
"If there is such a thing as truth," Mr. Singer writes at the end of the title story in this book, "it is as intricate and hidden as a crown of feathers." The difficulty of getting at the truth about individuals and events is a central theme of this new collection, one of the longest and best the author has published.
There are twenty-four stories in all, more than half of them with settings in America or with American characters. In "The Cabalist of East Broadway," Mr. Singer suggests that man does not live according to reason. "A Day in Coney Island," recounting the narrator's first year in New York, presents a familiar place in an entirely new guise. What is the truth of "The Third One?" The reader must decide whether it is, or is not, about homosexuality. In "The Egotist" it's strange truth the author reveals about elderly Kerenskyites marooned in New York.
"The Briefcase" depicts the miseries and surprises of the American university lecture tour. "The Bishop's Robe" concerns an occult group in California that tries to transcend religious differences. Three sisters who have problems getting married find out that life is merely "A Dance and a Hop," in the story bearing that title. 'The Captive," the story of a talented artist whose reputation is assumed by a forger, ends with a ouija board. The hero of "A Quotation from Klopstock" has a rendezvous not only with his mistress but with death. The generation gap has fantastic political and psychological implications in "Grandfather and Grandson." The fourteen remaining stories, from "The Blizzard" and "The Lantuch" to "The Son from America" and "Lost" explore other surprising aspects of the book's central theme.
"I regard Isaac Bashevis singer as the greatest writer of today," Rebecca West said in a review. And the late Edmund Wilson recommended Singer for the Nobel Prize as "the highest representative of a culture which stems straight from the sacred books upon which we have all been brought up."
“The singular thing about these stories…is that they speak with one voice—clear, direct, and uncolored, the cozy drone of a natural storyteller…They are unusually fine stories. They take joy in paradox…an they’re often tragic byt never sad…Singer is one of our best storytellers—‘our’ meaning everybody.”
~Crawford Woods, The New Republic
“I believe that Singer, in his short and humorous tales drawn from and old tradition, celebrates the dignity, mystery, and unexpected joy of living with more art and fervor than any other writer alive.”
~Peter Prescott, Newsweek
Table of Contents:
A Crown of Feathers
A Day in Coney Island
The Son from America
The Cabalist of East Broadway
The Bishop’s Robe
A Quotation from Klopstock
The Third One
A Dance and a Hop
On a Wagon
Grandfather and Grandson