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The Spinoza of Market Street

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  286 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Literature - Singer's second collection of stories, eleven in all, including the title story, "A Tale of Two Liars", and "The Destruction of Kreshev."
Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 12th 1981 by Fawcett (first published 1958)
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Ci Just my own limited understanding ...

The main character, Dr. Fischelson, lived a philosophic but barren life pursuing philosophic ideals like Spinoza.…more
Just my own limited understanding ...

The main character, Dr. Fischelson, lived a philosophic but barren life pursuing philosophic ideals like Spinoza. However, the "Market Street" is the existential condition that he had to reside. The story is an optimistic view of how, as human beings, we can find a whole life through both ideals and human affection. (less)

Community Reviews

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Almost 5-stars to every story herein. 10 short stories + a novella. Amazing and superb dark stories. A couple of them with a philosophical bent, but most of them dark, some narrated by the Evil One, the Satan itself. This being my third short story compilation reading from Singer, I would somewhat agree, that this probably is his "extraordinary work" as it is said. I enjoyed this one more than the previous two collections of his that I have read. As usual, translations do not feel like translati ...more
Jul 13, 2008 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought this collection after hearing Ernest Gaines say he was inspired by the title story. I'm only getting to the collection now (almost 2 years later) but I'm so glad I did. (I also understand now why critics thought of Singer when reviewing Nathan Englander's "For the Relief of Unbearable Urges," which I read some time ago and really liked.)

Of course, I'm reading these stories in translation, but they read effortlessly and smoothly -- the prose is flawless. The plots are unique and inventiv
Sep 27, 2012 Clark rated it really liked it
Shelves: made-ups
"He has white skin but inside he is red. He shouts as if he were strong, but really he is weak and shaky. Throw a stone and he breaks; use a thong and he bleeds. In heat he melts. In cold he freezes. There is a bellows in his chest which has to contract and expand constantly. In his left side is a small sac which must throb and quiver all the time. He stuffs himself with mildew of a kind which grows in mud or sand. This mildew he must swallow constantly and after it passes through his body he mu ...more
Oct 05, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it
This long short story took 44 minutes to listen to on Audible channels (which is free for Amazon Prime users). I enjoyed it quite a bit!
Mar 14, 2017 Rgoldenberg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
only read first (title) story. It was wonderful.
keith koenigsberg
Feb 27, 2017 keith koenigsberg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Another fantastic voyage into another culture, at another time. Haunted by Evil, populated by tinkers and holy men, this handful of stories takes place in various Jewish ghettoes of Poland. Stories are generally grounded in a mundane setting but take off on flights of fancy, weaving superstition and Yiddish patios into parables about life and love, good and evil.
Aug 14, 2014 Max rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 2015
So this is a bundle of short stories that I picked up in Iceland. It was the name that caught my eye plus I did not want to leave the (2nd hand) bookstore empty handed. A critic is quoted on the front saying: "Life in the ghettos of Poland", which was enough for me to catch my attention. From then on I started carrying it with me at all times, reading a story while waiting, using public transport or when bored. Having a short story collection within hand reach is something I advice at all times ...more
Jay Snyder
Nov 23, 2016 Jay Snyder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first review - forgive me...

Although this book is odd, I really enjoyed it. It is a quick read, perfect for a train ride or plane ride. A collection of ghost/occult related stories are grouped together and intertwined with Philosophy, Religion, Culture, History, and Geography. Most of the main characters are Jewish and reside in Poland. It was interesting to learn about customs of the times (18th-20th centuries).

My personal favorites of the 11 stories:
-The Destruction of Kreshev: Satan play
Aug 12, 2016 Ci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books
(I only have access through the "Gateway to Great Books" with the title story. Will read more later.)

Isaac B Singer is a Polish-born Jewish writer who won the Nobel Prize in 1978. This is my first time reading Singer, and much delighted in this short story.

Can we live by Ideas alone? Can the stark beauty of ancient wisdom and philosophy clothes us and feed us, in our human state of cold, hunger and stomach pains? Dr. Fischelson, a scholar living in solitude pursue of Spinoza, aged and in bodily
Mark Klempner
Jan 13, 2013 Mark Klempner rated it it was amazing
Unlike "Crown of Feathers," these stories are solidly set in the Old Country and Singer is trying to recreate the world that vanished shortly after the Nazis invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939. He does a really good job of it, and the stories are very rich and full of twists and turns. Singer often includes supernatural elements without any attempt to provide a plausible parellel explanation as, for example, Alison Lurie does in "Women and Ghosts." I have no problem with that, in fact I like it. In ...more
Sep 10, 2016 Ci rated it really liked it
After "Gimpel the fool", this collection continues in similar style of folklores that involve much of the same possession of devil among the rich bog of human lives. The tone is darker, with the exception of the title story, demonstrated in stories such as "Two Liars" and "The destruction of Kreshev". Highly entertaining but the stories seem to show some repetitiveness in themes. (Do we meet one too many badly bedevilled marriages of a rabbi's daughter?) However, "the man who called back" is uni ...more
Nov 08, 2014 Peter rated it it was amazing
A simply wonderful collection of stories set in the long-vanished Jewish villages of eastern Europe, first published in 1963. Richly drawn, passionate, lively and witty tales of everyday lives, with love, lust, faith, ambition and tragedy on vivid display, often all within the same story. For me the highlight is the novella-length "The Destruction of Kreshev", the story of a doomed marriage (and doomed village) narrated by none other than the devil himself (!), but everything here ranges from ve ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best if not the best short story collections I've read. I read and enjoyed every individual story. There wasn't a specific theme or conceit to the collection but all involved stories of Jewish characters in small Polish towns. Singer's short stories are haunting, sometimes because of the supernatural elements and sometimes because of their bleak realism.
Sukumar Honkote
Dec 24, 2012 Sukumar Honkote rated it liked it
One line description of the book: Book of folk tales.
The setting is ultra- orthodox Jewish society and several stories deal with people having either black or white characters. The stories are not intellectual food. They are those kind that you would like to read on short journeys (easily put down). If one finds folk tales interesting then this book is a must read
Oct 15, 2016 Suellen rated it really liked it
Listened to on Audible channel: Masters of Fiction
Dec 25, 2016 Pei-Yao rated it really liked it
Engaging story! I listened to the version on
THE SPINOZA OF MARKET STREET by Isaac Bashevis Singer (1966)
Richard Wagner
Oct 09, 2015 Richard Wagner rated it it was amazing
delightful short story
Jun 02, 2007 Marcus rated it it was amazing
One is NEVER disappointed w/I B Singer, and this collection of his short stories is no exception.
Cooch rated it it was amazing
Sep 06, 2012
Gregory rated it it was amazing
May 27, 2013
Dad Wieja
Dad Wieja rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2009
Faiza Sattar
Faiza Sattar rated it liked it
Oct 26, 2015
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Jul 24, 2009
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Dec 03, 2013
Galina Met
Galina Met rated it it was amazing
Jan 06, 2015
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Dec 04, 2012
weeshop Shopinski
weeshop Shopinski rated it it was amazing
Jul 15, 2011
Adam Gratz
Adam Gratz rated it it was amazing
Jul 21, 2009
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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 about Isaac Bashevis Singer...

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