Il mago di Lublino
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Il mago di Lublino

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,075 ratings  ·  47 reviews
Yasha di Lublino è un funambolo, un prestigiatore, un illusionista, ipnotizzatore, maestro, come Houdini, nell'aprire serrature e lucchetti anche bendato o ammanettato. Sul punto di abbandonare la fedele moglie Ester per fuggire in Italia con la bella Emilia, sul punto di usare le sue abilità per scopi criminali, come gli consigliano da tempo amici ruffiani e ladri, questo...more
Paperback, 207 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by TEA (first published April 18th 1959)
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I'm missing something here. I had absolutely no empathy with or sympathy for the main character, I have no picture of him in my head, I didn't believe in him, I didn't understand him. I didn't care about him or any of those around him.

My conclusion is that this is not well written. It paints a rich picture of the Poland of the period; though I have no idea if it is historically accurate, it was at least interesting. That seems to be the strength of the author and the point of his work. In this...more

Yasha Mazur, magician, lover, free spirit in prewar Poland, "could never understand how other people managed to live in one place and spend their entire lives with one woman without becoming melancholy." He had a dutiful and loving Jewish wife in his hometown, but most of the year he traveled the country. A woman in every town, a young female assistant for his act, an industrious agent, all assure Yasha money, variety and freedom from melancholy.

He could open any lock, escape from any enclosure,...more
Lorenzo Berardi
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-...more
So, when you're a lout, a layabout, adulterer and all-around rotten egg sinner, what do you do for penance? Well, if you're Yasha, the Magician of Lublin, you do something pretty out of the ordinary and realize that, as you're skimming through life thinking your behavior isn't affecting anyone, better think again.

I'm not sure, however, that Singer wrote this book as a parable on unintended consequences, though that's certainly a large take-away from this story.

So many of us go through life inter...more
No prettying things up in this book- it's pretty raw and bleak. As they say "Like a dash of cold water"! It is about a manipulative and deceitful magician's struggle with his evil side. This book should be depressing, but you are glad you survived, in whatever condition. I say "you", and not the protagonist because the writing is so good that, oddly enough, you identify so strongly with the main character that you feel like you lived this book!
Cant miss with anything he writes!
In one of his shorter novels, Singer writes about Yasha, a Jewish magician (a modern day street performer/las vegas showman) in late 19th century Poland who juggles (pun intended) multiple women as well as questions of faith, morality, and mortality. As always, Singer writes in an engaging style (even with it being translated from the original Yiddish) and includes many unforeseen occurrences which reach a crescendo leading Yasha to seek his own form of penitence.

This book reads more like a fabl...more
Risente, nel bene e nel male, della stesura originale in yiddish. Il pregio è quello di una lingua energica, evocativa, piacevole al gusto. Il limite, che talvolta il sentore della didascalia è un po' troppo forte. Vi si narra di una discesa rovinosa negli inferi dell'esistenza e di una successiva, volitiva, catarsi. La vicenda sembra però lo spunto per creare una cassa di risonanza al Dogma, e questo fatto mi lascia un po' perplesso. La grande forza narrativa di cui Singer è dotato ne resta in...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
I don't know what I thought this was about. Well, I do know what I *thought* this was about, it's just that the book description is woefully inadequate.

This falls into the category of morality play, although set in the latter part of the 19th Century. I am not fond of morality plays, nor am I especially interested in reading about people who decide to give up their supposedly evil ways and turn to God. Should I rate this lower? It did keep me reading and it was not a total waste of time.
A slim volume, The Magician of Lublin packs a lot of moralizing into few pages. Yasha Mazur is the title magician, and although he's terrific at picking locks and making escapes, he can't seem to escape the circumstances of his life closing in on him. He's got a wife, an assistant who is also his lover, another lover, and yet another lover, the last of whom he is planning to run away with. But things are kind of a mess, which is surprising to Yasha, if not to the reader.

Yasha's thoughts turn to...more
As the book opens, we're introduced to Yasha Mazur, a homeless man: literally wandering because he's away from Lublin touring most of the time, but also separated from the community of his town (who view him with admiration, suspicion, and condemnation), not believing in the religion of his youth, not participating in community ritual, childless, emotionally distant from his wife. It remains to be seen whether the rest of the book will take him away from Lublin for good and all, or bring him bac...more
May 27, 2012 Kirstie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rory, Erin Watson, mom
This novel really reminded me a great deal of Dostoevsky's novels and there are times of madness that the protagonist goes through that recalled Raskolnikov's trials of mental anguish in Crime and Punishment...maybe not to that extent but there was definitely a strong connection I felt between those unrelated protagonists. Of course, Singer is Polish and he's also Jewish and that plays into his main character's insanity a little bit, which are some key differences but Dostoevsky too dealt with m...more
"Hand of Fate"

This book is about Fate.Telling the tragic fate of an artist,a magician Yasha Mazur.About becoming a saint.

Yasha Mazur is a Polish Jew master of magic,lover,liar,hypnosis user and he often questions his faith,even tho he isn't going to the Synagogue regulary like the others,he believes in God..maybe.

This book is basically about his journey.Journey in which he decides to leave his married wife Esther with whom he can't have children for his love of his life Emily,a widow with one da...more
This was a very good book. The main character, Yasha, seemed so human, despite dealing in magic and seemingly super-human feats. He was having affairs, lied, and ended up questioning himself at nearly every turn. Fundamentally I believe that the book is actually about religion, and man's relation to it. There is something very special and singular about Singer's writing style, which is all the more surprising given that I read it in translation (from the Yiddish). There is an excellent part wher...more
Erez Davidi
The Magician of Lublin is a simple morality tale. Yasha is a magician who performs magic shows throughout Poland. He himself is a rationalist on the borderline of being an atheist. His wife, on the other hand, is a believing and practicing Jew who lives strictly according to Jewish law. Yasha is a serial adulterer who has a mistress in every city where his job as a magician takes him to.

The story starts when Yasha goes to Warsaw on a tour. This journey is a metaphor to the spiritual journey tha...more
Marc L
Verhaal van een "zondige" mens, Yasha Mazur, een goochelaar-acrobaat die er maar op losleeft, naast een echtgenote in elke stad een minnares heeft zitten. Het kader: het door Rusland bezette Polen, in het laatste kwart van de 19de eeuw, en dan specifiek het joodse milieu. Yasha heeft zijn joodse wortels verloochend, maar de vaststelling dat hij zijn complexe, anarchistische leven niet meer in de hand heeft, en enkele misstoten (een mislukte inbraak, een val waarbij hij zijn voet breekt, zijn min...more
Mark Klempner
I didn't feel this was as successfully realized a novel as The Slave. But I do have to hand it to Singer: in an era in which his contemporaries were portraying sexually promiscuous male protagonists who pursue various "conquests" as heroes, Singer creates the same kind of character but shows him, in the end, to be morally bankrupts and depicts his eventual transformation into a spiritual seeker. Protagonists like this do not exist in the works of Philip Roth, John Updike, or Saul Bellow, as far...more
Layered and heavy, as is with all truly great literature. Singer gives us a complex main character with a scrambled and oscillating ratio of good and bad traits, a genuine and believable persona. Consequently, the reader is endowed with more liberty in interpreting the main character's personality and conduct (in the school of realism you're rarely allowed more, in spite of the name). Other than that, we have a generally unfamiliar backdrop (a few of them actually) which adds to "the Magician's"...more
Adam Cherson
I rate this book a 4.16 on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being best. I consider Singer to be one of the greatest religious novelists of all time. His books are almost always about faith in the face of the highly unnerving transformations and cataclysms of the 19th-20th centuries. Somehow Singer manages to affirm the possibility of faith in spite of the horrors of this epoch in human history. In most cases, one leaves the worlds he creates with a feeling of ‘Yes, I can make it.’
Sasha's story is a compelling one. Outside of the entertainment value of wondering if the womanizing Yasha will get his comeuppance, the story offers a dimensional portrayal of its characters. The imagery and spiritual reflection is great here, too, as Yasha ponders the meaning of life and the role of nature in the existence. Good luck trying to keep all of his women straight, as it seems even the man himself has problems with it at times. Many of the women in his affairs seem to be quite aware...more
Una della cose che amo di pi� dei libri di Singer � la ricchezza poliedrica dell'ambiente yiddish, con questi personaggi eccentrici, colti e interessanti. Yasha il mago � affascinante, e incanta tutti quelli che gli stanno intorno provocando inganni e delusioni. Ma anche a lui tocca percorrere quel viaggio dentro di s� per ritrovarsi, anche senza delitto cerca il castigo, un'espiazione alla dostoevskij per ritrovare il misticismo delle sue origini e della sua identit�. Pi� simile al Singer delle...more
Betty Lanz
Story of a half-Jewish magician who rationalizes his questionable behaviors until ....
Ken Deshaies
A writing style that takes some getting used to, but the narrative is captivating. Ultimately, it is the story of one man who often questions his own moral bearing, but not enough to change. He treats loyalties like so much chattel, always looks to improve his own lot, and while he performs small good deeds for those in his life, he knows he is unable to commit long term. His way of dealing with his fall from grace will leave you wondering, and perhaps even encouraging him to get back some of hi...more
Очаровательная, мудрая даже наверное, глупость
Auntie Pam
bisogna leggere questo libro dopo aver capito bene il contesto religione - spazio - tempo. E' uno dei pochi libri scritti in yiddish per il necessario bisogno di esprimersi nella propria lingua, per mantenere vivo quel senso d'appartenenza ad una comunità in estinzione. Un libro che mi ha sorpresa positivamente.
Sheila Callahan
This is my second Singer story after The Slave. Wow, is all I can say. His characters are riveting, as was the plot, the story of a Houdini like figure based in Lublin who's got a girl in every town and all sorts of entanglements to boot. His spiritual journey was intriguing and the book, an all around good read.
Clearing books off my shelf - books that have been on my list for years. Maybe too long for some of them. It was interesting to read this book right after reading Magic by William Goldman, mostly because they were both about magicians. However, this one is literature, and the differences are obvious.
Interesting tale but I wasn't moved at all. Expected to be deeply attached in one way or another to the magician...whether that attachment was to love or loathe him; I felt next to nothing. Perhaps I'll pick it up at another time in my life and will see it differently.
Well, yeah. "Objectively" - this is a very good novel. It's serious; it's about important things; there's moral in it. Seriously - it's good.
But I seem to prefer books with at least a tiny little bit of humor and fooling around in them.
I love Singer, but if you've read one you've read em all. Also, I lack the cultural context to really give a thorough review of this novel, much less get all his Talmudic Scholarship references. Still love him though.
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Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Polish American author of Jewish descent, noted for his short stories. He was one of the leading figures in the Yiddish literary movement, and received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978.
His memoir, "A Day Of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw", won the U.S. National Book Award in Children's Literature in 1970, while his collection "A Crown of Feathers...more
More about Isaac Bashevis Singer...
The Slave Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories The Collected Stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer Enemies: A Love Story Shosha

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