Isaac's Torah

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Product Details
$23.95  $22.27
Other Press (NY)
Publish Date
5.9 X 8.5 X 1.19 inches | 1.06 pounds

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About the Author
Angel Wagenstein is a Bulgarian screenwriter and author. His film Stars, shot in 1959 by the German director Konrad Wolf, was awarded the Special Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival. His fiction includes the triptych of novels Isaac's Torah, Far from Toledo, and Farewell, Shanghai, which have been published in French, German, Russian, English, Czech, Polish, Macedonian, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew, and other languages. Farewell, Shanghai received the Jean Monnet Prize of European literature in 2004, and in 2022 was adapted into a six-episode television series directed by Radu Mihăileanu. Wagenstein is a Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite and a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Elizabeth Frank is a Professor of Modern Languages and Literature at Bard College.

Deliana Simeonova was born in Bulgaria and studied English philology and American literature at the University of Sofia. She has worked for civil-society NGOs in Tajikistan, Serbia, Liberia, and now does that work in her native Bulgaria.
Named an Editor's Choice by the Denver Post

"A powerful novel...Isaac's mesmerizing voice charms through every disaster, and engages and delights the reader without distracting from Wagenstein's profound insights into life's absurdities." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Intelligent and deeply felt."--Kirkus Reviews

"In Wagenstein's engaging historical novel, the wry humor reveals both the unbelievable horrors of history and fleeting moments of transcendence...Great for reading groups." --Booklist

"Wagenstein's picaresque story portrays Jewish humor and Jewish wisdom as inextricable twins and time-tested agents of survival." --The Nation

"A very funny book about very sad events. Isaac Blumenfeld suffers at the hands of the Nazis, loses his entire family when his village is invaded, and is sent to a Siberian labor camp because of mistaken identity. But, incredibly, Bulgarian author Angel Wagenstein makes us laugh." --Foreword Reviews

"Angel Wagenstein's novel is an important monument to the lives of those who suffered the horrors of the two World Wars and all those wars' extenuations, but rather than a lamentation of Blumenfeld's, and the Jewish people's, loss, it is a celebration of his and their lives. As uplifting as it is tragic, Isaac's Torah is a great contribution to the literature of the period, the Wars, and the Holocaust, and to world literature as a whole." --Three Percent

"Armed with Yiddish lore and the wide-ranging advice of a colorful brother-in-law who is alternately a rabbi and an atheist, this simple tailor's son from the shtetl of Kolodetz tries to navigate a course through the great terrors of his age." --Washington City Paper