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babel writes about jewish life in odessa, the home of my paternal grandmother's family (my great-grandparents left after the 1905 pogrom, which babel also survived). his stories are funny and cruel and worth reading on their own merits, but part of the enjoyment for me is definitely the insights into a tiny slice of jewish and personal history.
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." ...moreMore about Isaac Babel...