The Family Moskat
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The Family Moskat

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  651 ratings  ·  38 reviews
The vanished way of life of Eastern European Jews in the early part of the twentieth century is the subject of this extraordinary novel. All the strata of this complex society were populated by powerfully individual personalities, and the whole community pulsated with life and vitality. The affairs of the patriarchal Meshulam Moskat and the unworldly Asa Heshel Bannet prov...more
Paperback
Published April 1st 1988 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1950)
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Lewis Weinstein
"The Family Moskat" has several slow spots, there are a confusing number of characters introduced but never really developed, and the story didn't really have much punch.

Having said that, "Moskat" is an exquisite presentation of a wide range of Polish Jews in a variety of economic, social, sexual and religious circumstances. There was never a doubt in my mind that Singer, who lived there, had got it right. And the last 100 pages or so achieved an emotion not previously present.

The book is copy...more
Sandra
Un romanzo tragicamente bello. E’ l’affresco colorito e vivace, ma sempre con uno sfondo di profonda tristezza postuma, delle tradizioni, usi e costumi del popolo ebraico polacco all’inizio del Novecento, una comunità le cui sorti sono emblematicamente raffigurate da quelle della famiglia Moskat: dopo un inizio in cui prevalgono il benessere e una certa spensieratezza, nel quale si susseguono feste, innamoramenti, matrimoni, tradimenti, invidie e gelosie, con la morte del patriarca della famigli...more
Lorenzo Berardi
Chronicles from a vanished world.

No one like Isaac Bashevis Singer is able to zoom on daily tiny details without losing focus on the whole plot and keeping your attention awake for more than 600 pages with no single moment of boredom or prolixity.

So far, I have never found a wide bunch of so realistic fictional characters: each of them is beyond evil or good simply behaving just like each of us do, sometimes in a selfish way, sometimes being selfless. Potential villains may show humanity and ten...more
Cristina
Grande fascino alcuni personaggi maschili, vedasi quell'orco di Abram Shapiro e quella mina vagante che è Asa Eshel. Ma le donne in questo romanzo, sebbene non si possano definire le protagoniste, ne sono lo scheletro, la dirittura morale, la forza, e la coerenza.
Certamente la fine della lettura fa sentire un po' orfani.

Roberto
“Nella vita, le cose che desideriamo hanno la specialità di arrivare troppo tardi.”

Il romanzo abbraccia un periodo storico che va dall’inizio del Novecento al termine della Seconda Guerra Mondiale. La storia inizia con il rientro a Varsavia del ricco capostipite Meshulam Moskat già vecchio, che ha appena deciso di sposarsi per la terza volta.

Meshulam ci introduce lentamente nella comunità ebraica di Varsavia, nei vicoli densamente abitati, pieni di vita e di commerci, dove gli uomini hanno i ric...more
jordan
By any standard, the word sweeping well suits Singer's novel "The Family Moskat." The novel spreads over almost a century of transformative history, ending at the outbreak of World War II, which will see before its end the entire civilization represented transformed into nothing but ash. Yet in the fashion of Tolstoy, Singer does not allow the great events he illustrates - WWI, the birth of modern Poland, the destruction of the Austria-Hungarian Empire, the 1917 Revolution, the rise of Zionism -...more
La Stamberga dei Lettori
Pur nella lontananza geografica e storica, il ruolo della famiglia nella tradizione della cultura yiddish evoca l'importanza che questa istituzione riveste nella nostra civiltà e nelle culture mediterranee in genere. La famiglia Moskat, fatta di un capostipite, reb Meshulam, di tanti figli e altrettanti nipoti, si allarga con matrimoni successivi, separazioni, figli illegittimi e nuove unioni, si estende al di fuori della via Nalewka, cuore del ghetto ebraico di Varsavia, e accoglie tra malumori...more
Giovanna
Un bel libro...forse un pò lontano e un pò lento,ma ci si abitua presto a questa prosa un pò datata nel tempo e negli argomenti...e alla fine risulta un bel libro!I personaggi sono tantissimi ma descritti così bene e in modo così vivo che sembrano i nostri vicini di casa.La parte storica è curatissima e lo stesso la descrizione dei luoghi.L'argomento religioso ha un'importanza profonda e forse è un pò questo che me lo ha reso lontano..come tutti i libri scritti dagli autori ebrei.Comunque sicura...more
Sally Tarbox
'this is the bread of affliction which our forefathers ate in the Land of Egypt',, August 14, 2014

This review is from: The Family Moskat: A Novel (FSG Classics) (Paperback)
Compelling family saga set in the Jewish community of Warsaw. The novel opens in the years before WWI : the wealthy patriarch of the family has just returned from taking the waters, bringing with him a new wife - and a stepdaughter. There's much irritation among his children by his previous two wives; they are also unhappy ab...more
Elwood D Pennypacker
Scandal! The scandal! What will people think! Everyone will talk!

Sounds familiar.

If I had read this before ever seeing Downton Abbey, I'd have said of Downton Abbey, "Oh this is like The Family Moskat, but about semi-assimilated Warsaw Jews instead of English aristocrats". Except instead of goodly Matthew Crawley however, Singer created Asa Heshel, a self-serving, self-centered lush who is nevertheless a ladies' man (his appeal must stem from his cruel indifference to the world and people around...more
Christy
I think this was the first book that I read by I.B. Singer and what a book. A sprawling multi-generational cast of characters in pre-Holocaust Warsaw, Poland live out their lives. And the bleak ending reminds us that all of that is about to be lost.
Cloudbuster
LA MORTE E' IL MESSIA. QUESTA E' LA VERITA'.

Un grandioso affresco sulla vita della comunità ebraica ortodossa nella Varsavia della prima metà del Novecento. Singer è bravissimo a descrivere la contraddizione che molti personaggi vivono tra il mondo della tradizione chassidica e, da un lato, le istanze della "modernità" laica e dall'altra quelle del sionismo dall'altra.i. Quello che colpisce è la miseria dei rapporti familiari all'interno della famiglia Moskat: praticamente, ogni famiglia è scoss...more
David
Isaac Bashevis Singer's THE FAMILY MOSKAT is a chronicle, documentary, and artifact- in story book form- of Jewish life in Poland from the beginning of the 20th century until World War II. His characters are lively and complex because he does not romanticize shtetl life. It is a refreshing contrast to overly sweet and moralistic Jewish fables about the "Old Country".

Thankfully, Singer was completely free from religious propaganda in describing Ashkenazi Jewish life- some women are trapped in unh...more
Well-steered
What I liked about it: Despite the tragedy and the doomed romance, some parts of the book are hilarious, like when a Hassidic bumpkin comes to the city in search of his wayward wife who longs for modernity and refuses to stay in her house because she lacks a mezuzah. When she offers to go out and buy one, he again refuses, because it needs to be inspected by a rabbi in case it contains spelling errors. In just a few sentences, you understand fully why the wife wanted out. A lot of the minor char...more
Megan
While full of interesting details, and well-written, it was WAY TOO LONG and rather boring. The very long tale of a Polish family of Jewish descent, from Grandfather to great-grandchildren, from the early 1900s to Hitler's invasion of Poland, is a detailed description of Jewish home-life. The men are all philanderers or religious zealots, the women are harpies or idiots, and nearly no one stays married. Everyone has affairs, lives in sin with someone not their spouse, has shady dealings, abortio...more
Shana
This was the first book I read by Isaac Bashevis Singer. The hustle and energy of pre-WWII Warsaw is described in vibrant detail but it seems that all the people in the extended Moskat family are unhappy. It was upsetting to read about unhappy marriages unraveling and the extra-marital affairs that the neighbors suspected and the cheated spouses resignedly accepted. The novel follows primarily Meshulam Moskat, the wealthy patriarch of the Moskat family, and Asa Heshel Bannet, from the Polish bac...more
Suni
Bello, bello, bello. Sono anni che l'ho letto e ogni tanto mi piace riaprirne le pagine a caso e rileggere qualche paragrafo. Il sapore e l'atmosfera rimangono intatti anche se non ricordo quasi più la trama - come non ricorderei la trama di "Cent'anni di Solitudine" a distanza di anni se l'avessi letto una volta sola. Il paragone non è casuale: come la splendida opera di Marquez, questo romanzo poderoso ripercorre la storia di una grande famiglia nel suo lento e inarrestabile declino, ma alla m...more
Leslie
A nice, big, fat Singer novel that I haven't read at Goodwill! Yea!
This book is fascinating. It follows the life of Asa Heshel Bannet and the family he gets tangled up with when he moves to Warsaw before WW1. We meet the relatives, the employees, the friends, the enemies. People die, divorce, marry, have babies. Life happens.
The book ends on a note of devasting despair at the beginning of WW2. I was hoping it would end before then. I didn't want to read about Hitler and his evil touching any of...more
Anna
Singer pokazał świat, którego już nie ma - świat wschodnioeuropejskich Żydów żyjących obok Polaków, Rosjan, Ukraińców oraz innych nacji zamieszkującą tereny Polski przed II Wojną Światową. Singer poruszył tematy asymilacji, syjonizmu i komunizmu (dwóch najpopularniejszych wśród Żydów doktryn politycznych).

Singer wrote a book about asimilation, syjonism and communism. This shows life of Meshulem Moskat, wealthy businessman from Warsaw and families of tzadik from Biała Podlaska and rabbi from Tere...more
Mark Klempner
If you like historical fiction, want to learn about pre-WWII Jewry in Poland, want to understand the environment in Poland before the Nazis invaded, Singer delivers the goods. But beyond all that, his novel transcends its time and place, albeit not as profoundly as the masterworks of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, but excitingly close considering that he was an author who was with us right up until the 1990s. To see the full review go to: http://ow.ly/oM9r0
Mia
It's a really, really good book. It's just depressing. He's a wonderful writer, though; this is the first of his books I've read and I certainly want to read more. I also learned a hell of a lot about a time and place I knew almost nothing about (the Warsaw Jewish ghetto from WWI-II). So I definitely recommend it. Just maybe...not when you're depressed or depression-prone.
Piotr
Niezwykle gorzka książka. Wręcz przygnębiająca. Singer najwyraźniej ze swojej młodości w Warszawie nie zapamiętał ani jednego przyzwoitego Polaka, ze świecą szukać takiej postaci w książce. Opisuje znajome ulice i miejsca, ale to świat bezpowrotnie utracony. Podobnie jak ta niezwykła kultura i tradycja, ktorej tutaj pełno.
Bill Adelson
Jul 14, 2007 Bill Adelson rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jews..and people with writers block
Shelves: novels
It has little to do with writers, but more to do with Jews. It is, however, Singers first novel which he wrote when he was in his 40's. That gives me hope. It's also a beautiful novel. I am loathe to use the phrase "changed my life" because my life is the same, but it was very powerful to me as a Jew.
Ffiamma
storia di una ricca famiglia ebrea nella varsavia dell'inizio del secolo. la religione, il denaro, gli intrighi, le passioni, la morte, la vita, l'amore- la storia d'europa che s'infila, s'intreccia, si propaga. a paragone, i nobel degli ultimi anni sembrano stati dati a casaccio.
Ariel
So far my favorite of Singer's books. It is ambitious in scope, showing the progress of a whole dynasty, peopled with vivid characters. Really gives the flavor of the urbane Jewish experience in Eastern Europe before WWII, not just the small town as in Fiddler on the Roof.
Suzanne Levy
Well-written and portrays in detail Jewish life at the turn of the 19th century and through to WWII. However, it's not action-oriented, and it takes time to get into it; it's a pretty slow read.
Natalie
Maybe it's me and this time in my life. But this was like reading a boring soap opera. I can't read it anymore. Hopefully it gets better, but I give up.
Jennifer
In Warsaw just before WII: A large, Jewish, wealthy, dysfunctional family and its patriarch. One of those books where Singer is as good as Tolstoy.
Jennifer
Don't remember it. But here is what I wrote in my notes. Sad, sadder, saddest. I am thinking NOT a re-read.
Austin Wright
Amazing book...I fell in love with the character Hadassah. Though 600 pages was a lot to read, haha.
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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 The Magician of Lublin

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