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Benya Krik, the Gangster and Other Stories

4.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  58 Ratings  ·  2 Reviews
Isaac Babel was born in 1894 in that part of Odessa called Moldavanka. A protege and friend of Maxim Gorky, Babel came to prominence in the early 1920's with the publication of Red Cavalry, but as Stalin's repressive regime made the position of the creative writer increasingly difficult during the next decade, Babel published less and less. In 1939, he was arrested, and hi ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published January 1st 1987 by Schocken (first published 1948)
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Aug 16, 2013 Pete rated it it was amazing
he's no isaac bashevis singer but he's pretty damn good. a blend of classic jewish storytelling with an urban grit (damon runyon x 1900s odessa). babel has a gimlet eye for characters and weird collisions inside life. need to read more of him.
Wonderful book, but probably one of the most difficult things I've read in Russian. That Odessa slang, man.
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Isaak Emmanuilovich Babel (Russian: Исаак Эммануилович Бабель; 1901 - 1940) was a Russian language journalist, playwright, literary translator, and short story writer. He is best known as the author of Red Cavalry, Story of My Dovecote, and Tales of Odessa, all of which are considered masterpieces of Russian literature. Babel has also been acclaimed as "the greatest prose writer of Russian Jewry." ...more
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“Do you remember Zhitomir, Vasily? Do you remember the Teterev, Vasily, and that evening when the Sabbath, the young Sabbath tripped stealthily along the sunset, her little red heel treading on the stars?
THe slender horn of the moon bathed its arrows in the black waters of the Teterev. Funny little Gedali, founder of the Fourth International, was taking us to Rabbi Motele Bratzlavsky’s for evening service. Funny little Gedali swayed the cock’s feathers on his high hat in the red haze of the evening. The candes in the Rabbi’s room blinked their predatory eyes. Bent over prayer books, brawny Jews were moaning in muffled voices, and the old buffoon of the zaddiks of Chernobyl jingled coppers in his torn pocket...
...Do you remember that night, Vasily? Beyond the windows horses were neighing and Cossacks were shouting. The wilderness of war was yawning beyong the windows, and Robbi Motele Bratzslavsky was praying at the eastern wall, his decayed fingers clinging to his tales. (...)”
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