El esclavo
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El esclavo

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,163 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Asurvivor of the 1648 slaughter of the Jews in the Ukraine, Jacob now lives as a slave in a Polish village. Splitting his solitary days between duties as a shepherd and regular prayers, he struggles to subdue his burning desire for Wanda, the gentile daughter of his owner. When even freedom and relocation do not calm his passion, Jacob abandons his new life and departs on...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 1st 2007 by Ediciones B (first published 1962)
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Ana Ruiz
I realize that this is a love story. What I found charming about this particular love story is that I couldn't understand why it was called one. That is, until the end. The end is beautiful. I've read so many endings; endings that end with a sigh, with a cry, or with a laugh. But this one was perfect. I must admit I was sleepy when I read that last sentence, but I don't think I could've reacted to the finish of this book anyways. It was perfect.

Like I said, for me, this was mostly a ...moreI re...more
Lidija
Što napisati o romanu koji me je oduševio ? Čitajući ga sa 17 godina, duboko sam proživljavala sve što je u djelu napisano, sve što su proživljavali glavni likovi, a i sporedni ), sve što je rečeno bilo mi je začuđujuće dobro. I onda se odlučih prošle godine ponovo ga čitati. Nisam ništa očekivala. Zapravo sam mislila da me se neće tako dojmiti kao prije, jer sam dosta skeptična kada neko djelo čitam drugi put. Rijetko koje mi ponovo „legne“ Ovaj put sam se prevarila, jer začudo, nije bilo tako....more
Erik Simon
A recent discussion on this site with some goodreaders about religion in literature jogged my memory on this book, although Isaac Singer and his works are rarely too far from my bean. I adore almost eveything he's written. This book not only beautifully wonders about the notion of Free Will in a world where God definitely exists, but it's also, with the exception of MY ANTONIA, the most beautiful love story I've ever read.
Kerstin
This is another of Casey's books for school this next year. I loved it! I wish I could be a fly in the wall to hear the discussions they will have in class about the book. It is the story of Jacob who is a Jew, is sold as a slave after the massacres of Chmielnicki in the 17th Century. Jacob's wife and children and most of his family were murdered. He is kept as a slave for five years on a mountainside in Poland. Here he falls in love with Wanda, his owner's daughter, who is a widow herself. And,...more
Anna
It was quite interesting, certainly different from what I usually read. I liked the Wanda part better, for obvious reasons. The religious talk bothered me more than I expected it to. Personally, I have nothing against religion. But, I don`t think religion should stand in the way of happiness. All that self restraining, god fearing, I-will-punish-myself-for-my-sins behavior doesn`t sit well with me. Their lives would have been so much easier if they had not been so devoted. Now, some might agree...more
Kate S
Another time and place with which I was not previously familiar. 17th century Poland, the Jewish population is treated horrendously. They are displaced, murdered, sold into slavery. Not only has Jacob been subjected to this treatment by others, his relationship with a Gentile woman gets him into hot water with his own Peoples. There are many, many questions about faith and what it means to be faithful and to have a relationship with God.

The writing was beautiful and I found myself struggling to...more
Grace
Wow. Brutal descriptions of peasant life in 1600's Poland, plus pogroms and their effect on the Jewish community. The line from here to Auschwitz is straight and clear. Slams those who choose to practice the insignificant pieces of religion but leave out the critical stuff - like love, respect and charity. Woven into the hardships is a touching and romantic interfaith love story.
Casey
I really enjoyed this book. I have read the Bible so I understood some of the references made, but I didn't understand all of them since the Torah was mentioned and I'm not Jewish. I hated finding references I didn't understand although I learned more because of them.

Great book. The writing was brilliant and I loved it.

I found some amazing quotes in this book that I have to share.

"...as Jacob looked about him, he saw that the community observed the laws and customs involving the Almighty, but br...more
Kathy
Once again Isaac Bashevis Singer' storytelling has arrested and spellbound me. I found this an intensely beautiful book.

Four years after the Chmielnicki massacres of the seventeenth century, Jacob, a Jewish slave and cowherd in a Polish village high in the mountains, falls in love with Wanda, his gentile master's daughter. Jacob is ransomed, and freed from his years of enforced slavery only to find it succeeded by another sort of slavery that would last as long as he lived. He is stunned by the...more
Corey
I'm not really a love story type of person but this one was simple, straight-forward, and sweet set against an interesting historical, cultural, and religious background. The theme of the book to me was the intense love between an unlikely pair during a time when love wasn't valued and was definitely not a prerequisite for marriage. The fictional couple was forced to avoid many a suspenseful obstacle in order to make their love work - quintessential romance. The simplicity of the plot surprising...more
Sasoo
روايه جميله جدااااا..

أكثر جزء عجبني ..ألاول .."واندا"

الست الي أتمنيت اكون مكانها ..الي بقت ف الجزء التاني"ٍسارة "
بعد ما تزوجت يعقوب وأعتنقت اليهوديه ف السر و مثلت أنها خرساء ..لآن العقيدة اليهوديه بتمنع تحول حد الي اليهوديه .

والجزء التاني أثر فيا جدا ..وبالذات وهي بتولد ..

الجزء الاخير .."العودة" لما راح يجيب عظمها من القبر عشان يدفنه ف الارض المقدسه ..ويجهز لنفسه قبر جنبها ..والرحله مكملتش ف أتدفن هو جنبها ف بلتيزك .

وسعت من الكاتب شويه موضوع العظم الي متحللش بعد 20 سنه .

الكتاب مليان معلومات عن...more
Zeny May Dy Recidoro
I've read so many novels and short stories revolving around Love that I've convinced myself that the subject matter can no longer be written in new ways. But I.B. Singer's "The Slave" proved me wrong. Despite knowing that there is much pain and sorrow in between the pages I kept on reading because, somehow, I knew that there would be a happy ending well earned. It isn't the kind of love story wherein the couple exists within their own small world. In between the pages are lessons and insights on...more
Karen
Beautiful. I love it when I look through my bookshelves and find a book I didn't know I had, a book I never really noticed, but realize I really want to read. My copy of this book is an old library book I must have picked up for next to no money many years ago, probably before I ever heard of the author. And then, years later, this book just looks back at me when I stare stupidly at my shelves and says "hello, here I am, don't you want to read me" and I think "oh but hello, little darling" and c...more
mark
I read this book many years ago during my time in a chassidic religious school. Because we were not permitted to read novels, or indeed anything not related to our religious studies, I read it secretly, in bathrooms and other places I would not be discovered. The illicit manner of reading, the illicitness of the material, on top of a great narrative, made the whole experience very thrilling.
Brian
Intense and beautiful, this book is equal parts love story and critique of religion and society. It is written in such a way that it's true nature and message isn't fully apparent until the final chapters. Though based in 16th century Poland and written almost 50 years ago, it carries strong messages for life today. I am very happy to have read this.
Maged
لولا مسحةٌ من أفكارٍ صهيونيّة .. لنصحتُ الجميع بقراءتها..

روايةٌ إنسانيّةٌ تعتصرُ النفس..

تحاول الإجابة على السؤال الأبدي: لماذا بعث الله الأنبياء .. وإلام ينظر الله؟

.
.

إِنّ اللَّه لا يَنظرُ إِلَى أَجسَادِكم وَلا إِلَى صُوَركُمْ ، ولَكن يَنظرُ إِلَى قُلوبكم ، التَّقْوَى هَا هُنَا .. وَأَشَارَ إِلَى صَدرِهِ
Leah Cripps
This was a beautifully written book about Jacob, a Jew living in 17th century Poland. His entire family is murdered by the Cossacks, and he is then sold as a slave to a mixture of pagan and orthodox Polish villagers who despise him except Wanda. The story then becomes a mixture of love and guilt as he falls in love and ultimately marries Wanda, a Gentile. They escape and return to a Jewish community where Wanda pretends to be deaf and mute Sarah, because if they are caught together they will be...more
Riley
I had not expected to enjoy this book as much as I did. There was something about the world Isaac Singer created -- one of in which moral strictures and barbarism are two sides of the same coin -- that I found very compelling.
A.U.C.
Apr 24, 2010 A.U.C. rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to A.U.C. by: Ethel
Shelves: read-in-2010
I realize that this is a love story. What I found charming about this particular love story is that I couldn't understand why it was called one. That is, until the end. The end is beautiful. I've read so many endings; endings that end with a sigh, with a cry, or with a laugh. But this one was perfect. I must admit I was sleepy when I read that last sentence, but I don't think I could've reacted to the finish of this book anyways. It was perfect.

Like I said, for me, this was mostly a story on hum...more
Chavi
"The Slave" is a love story that takes place in seventeenth century Russia, in a god forsaken mountain village and in a Jewish Shtetl. Jacob, the central character, is a scholar, a slave, and a lover. Jacob's devotion to God is remarkable. True, it is born more of fear than love, but it is unquestionably wholehearted. The story might be more about the love between Jacob and God than Jacob and Wanda, his master's daughter.
Maybe because it is forbidden, maybe because it is the only brightness in...more
Oobydoo65
An absolute must read for those seeking God. Singer is an amazing story teller who manages to weave history, folk-lore and the Word of God into his novels.
This story is a very interesting one--set in 17th century Poland, the main character Jacob, an educated pious Jew from a jewish town in Poland, is sold as a slave to a farmer in a remote mountainous village in Poland, after his twon is destroyed and most of its inhabitants murdered by the Cossacks.
This is Jacob's story of his struggle with h...more
Clif
As it happened, the book I read just before this one was "A World Lit Only By Fire" by William Manchester, which vividly described the squalid conditions around the year 1500 in Europe.

The Slave put me right into that world, even though it takes place a bit later in the late 1600's. Widespread poverty, ignorance, belief in ghosts, demons, things that dwell in the woods at night, they are all here along with the ever-present possibility of a rampage through the countryside and your village by arm...more
Yiannis

Το 2014, τουλάχιστον αναγνωστικά, ξεκίνησε εντυπωσιακά. Αν και ο Ισαάκ Μπάσεβις Σίνγκερ είναι καταρχήν γνωστός για τα διηγήματά του, προτίμησα να τον γνωρίσω από το πλέον δημοφιλές μυθιστόρημά του.

Το περί ου ο λόγος, μεταφέρει τον αναγνώστη στην Πολωνία του 17ου αιώνα. Ο κεντρικός ήρωας, ο Ιακώβ, είναι ένας ευσεβής Εβραίος. Μετά τις σφαγές της κοινότητάς του από Κοζάκους, πουλιέται σκλάβος σ' έναν Πολωνό κτηνοτρόφο. Την άνοιξη και το καλοκαίρι ζει απομονωμένος σ' έναν ορεινό στάβλο, κι εκεί ερω...more
Gilgamesh  Nabeel
The Slave العبد
Isaac Bashevis Singerإسحق باشيفيس سنجر
USA - Poland الولايات المتّحدة الأميركية - بولندا
first published in 1962
I finished it on 22th of September 2013

هذه هي الرواية الثانية التي أقرأها للكاتب الأميركي البولندي المولد الحائز على جائزة نوبل إسحق باشيفيس سنجر، والرواية - كما عودنا- قويّة وذات حبكة رصينة ولغة سلسة تشدّنا وتحثّنا على المواصلة حتّى النهاية ومفعمة بالقصص التوراتيّة التي يجد فيها الكاتب دائما صدى لما يواجه شخصيّاته الرئيسيّة من أحداث وما واجهه الأنبياء وأبطال قصص الكتا...more
Bjorn
High up in the mountains sits Jacob, a Polish Jew, the last of his family following the latest in a series of massacres. No, it's not the 1940s, it's mid-17th century, though obviously the still-recent memories of WWII were at the back of Singer's mind when he wrote the novel. Anyway, Jacob is a slave, which is of course officially immoral and illegal, but he's a Jew in a country where that's enough reason to kill you so who is he to argue? Alone in the mountains, herding a Christian farmer's co...more
Erez Davidi
As a result of the Chmielnicki massacres in 1648, thousands of Jews lost their lives, among them was the family of the Jacob, who was taken as a slave later to be sold to Polish peasants. Up there, in the mountains, he is treated by everyone as subhuman, except by one Polish peasant - Wanda. Naturally, they fall in love.

After fellow Jews from his hometown pay the ransom and free Jacob, he tries to live a normal life in his hometown, yet he cannot forgot Wanda. So he decides to go to Poland and...more
Esther
I first read this as a freshman in college. It changed the way I looked at Judaism (my father, a Syrian Christian, had done MUCH to shape my view during my childhood, and let's just say the view wasn't entirely...er...flattering), and made me consider vegetarianism for the first time. Nearly 30 years later, I recently re-read the book to see if it still held some power for me. Guess so, as I married an Orthodox Jew (who's now a practicing conservative) and converted, and have been a vegetarian f...more
Debbie
A very powerful book - so well crafted I cared very deeply for Jacob and Wanda and felt anxious about each step they made towards freedom. So it was a real relief when Jacob escaped with the holy man, though devastating when Wanda revealed her tongue in childbirth and the way she died. I loved that Jacob ended up buried near Wanda (Sarah) even though they'd forgotten where they'd buried her. This book was like a meditation on free will, and it helped me understand some of the deeper tenets of Ju...more
Claudia f.
In my collection of books from a garage sale, I found this one waiting to be read. Singer is so fanciful, like a Jewish Italo Calvino. I tend to love dark, magical writers.
The Slave is about the 17th century in Poland and it sure makes me glad to be alive now. Eeek. Singer's descriptions of the filth of the time make this not a good book to read while eating one's stirfry. Yuck.
But it sure was informative. It is amazing anyone survived those conditions. Seriously.
His ability to get into the m...more
Anka
A fascinating story about a Jewish slave in Poland during the riots of Chamilnitski.
Bashevis is descibing the Jewish way of life in Polish towns of that period.
Bashevis can create interesting and authentic characters . Reading the book allows the imagination to soar to the same time and same place and feel part of the smells, the landscapes, people, lifestyle and differences between Jews and Poles in the every day's life .After the great disaster suffered by Polish Jews in the 16th century by C...more
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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...
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