Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Scum” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview


3.64  ·  Rating details ·  286 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
An authentic literary great, Singer was an author whose extraordinary talents won him a worldwide audience. And with this impressive novel, he proved that he was at the height of his creative power until his recent death at age 86. Scum evokes the teeming life of 1906 Warsaw's backstreets. Max Barabander, distraught over the recent death of his son, flees the life of wealt ...more
Paperback, 228 pages
Published May 16th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1991)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Scum, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Scum

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jason Williams
May 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Ahhh . . . I don't know. This was my second stint with Singer, after perhaps the most beautiful story ever told in 'Gimpel the Fool.' I guess it's interesting to read a Jewish author, in 1991, going back to turn-of-the-century themes of Zionism and anti-Semitism wrapped around the aimless deeds and ruminations of a modern individual (who happens to be Jewish) living in the penumbra of modern cosmopolitan life -- the importance of insisting on urban anonymity in pre-cosmopolitan Warsaw was a recu ...more
Oct 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Truthfully, I can never pass up a vividly written séance scene.
Feb 18, 2013 rated it liked it
I had read collections of Singer's short stories before reading this book, and I have always considered myself a fan of his unique and colorful storytelling quality, which is always delightfully infused with supernatural and magic realist elements. "Scum" is the first novel of Singer's I have read, and while it probably won't be my last, I feel lukewarm about it. The protagonist, Max, in spite of the fact that he is grieving the loss of his teenage son and subsequent alienation by his wife, Roch ...more
Kevin Hirth
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a strange book I found browning in a bookstore so long that the owner offered me a discount just for bringing it to the register, something about it stands out, maybe the title - SCUM. The main character I can relate to, having survived something traumatic he wants to go crazy to feel alive, and gets himself all tangled up in his own nonsense (in a wholly deliberate and irresponsible way) in the distant and forgotten land he came from and has since tried to forget. The story blew by and ...more
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Txe Polon
Mi sensación es muy similar a la que experimenté leyendo El mago de Lublin, quizás la obra más conocida de Singer. Escoria tiene un buen planteamiento y una sugerente descripción de la sociedad y del ambiente en el que se sitúa la trama, pero la historia en sí, centrada en un personaje que me cae mal, no consigue atraparme ni interesarme. Es como un ejercicio estilístico de recreación de una época y una manera de vivir, pero en el fondo creo que le falta alma para que el devenir de los personaje ...more
Mar 29, 2018 rated it liked it
Čitatelj prati tijek misli glavnog lika Maxa Barabandera te njegov boravak u Varšavi u ljeto 1906. Naslov romana ''Ništarija'' govori sve o njegovom karakteru. Max je bivši poljski kriminalac koji se obogatio u Argentini te ondje osnovao obitelj. Nakon što mu umre sin i ne može više pronaći zajednički jezik sa suprugom, odlazi na putovanje Europom. Čitatelj ga prati tijekom boravka u Varšavi gdje se zapliće u laži i spletke. Rekla bih da je pouka ovog romana da čovjek može bježati, ali od sebe p ...more
Wessel van der Merwe
The interesting part for me is not the man's relationships and sexual dilemma because of his son's death and his wife that is no longer interesting in him, but the main character's way of arguing and talking to himself all along even in conversations with people - sort of sharing his thoughts with you as the reader. The second interesting thing is the sharing of so many small traditional Jewish practices. The setting 1906 - forecasting the way of things to come after the wars - obvious from the ...more
David Gross
Jul 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The master storyteller.
Robert Wechsler
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-lit
As dark as its name. I was fascinated.
Sep 29, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Despite the fact that this book has gotten bad reviews, it won a Pulitzer Prize.
Sep 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2009
Feels like the enfeebled effort of a once-great storyteller.
David Flett
Jun 20, 2015 rated it liked it
An amusing farce,with a good cast of characters. A man who won't avoid his fate.

Cela's ' family of Pascual Duarte' leaves this in it's shadow.
Ken Fredette
Nov 04, 2015 rated it liked it
It was a story of a man who lost his son and played with looking for love through different encounters.
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
It means something to me that this nomadic, diasporan figure ultimately succumbed to a single fate after toying with so many possibilities in a search for re-definition.
Feb 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, judaism
Okay, not Singer's best.
rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2016
Andrew Gabriel
rated it really liked it
May 16, 2013
rated it really liked it
Feb 15, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jul 25, 2011
rated it really liked it
Nov 20, 2007
rated it really liked it
Dec 02, 2013
Shannon Ross-albers
rated it liked it
Mar 23, 2013
rated it it was ok
Aug 01, 2010
Alan Jay
rated it it was amazing
Apr 14, 2013
rated it really liked it
Aug 16, 2017
rated it really liked it
Jan 16, 2015
salar Rad
rated it it was amazing
Apr 15, 2018
Kaja Limisiewicz
rated it did not like it
Mar 06, 2018
Tzviyah Rosenstock
rated it really liked it
Feb 25, 2013
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Only Yesterday
  • Collected Stories
  • Pan Wołodyjowski (Trylogia, #3)
  • Colas Breugnon
  • Mazurka for Two Dead Men
  • The Lost Girl
  • The Flanders Road
  • The Life of the Bee
  • The Stories of Heinrich Böll
  • Free Air
  • The Last Jew
  • The Far Euphrates
  • The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved
  • Overnight to Many Distant Cities
  • Jump and Other Stories
  • Idiots First
  • The Thirteen Petalled Rose: A Discourse on the Essence of Jewish Existence and Belief
  • Alles over Tristan
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

Fiction Deals

  • Echoes of Family
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Checking Out
    $4.99 $1.99
  • This Is the Story of You
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Outlaw
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Two Sisters
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Transit
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Class Mom
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Drawing Lessons
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Revolution 2020
    $3.99 $0.99
  • A General Theory of Oblivion
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Ya-Yas in Bloom (Ya Yas, #3)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Bloom Girls
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So B. It
    $6.74 $1.99
  • Island Beneath the Sea
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Petersburg
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Life is What You Make It: A Story of Love, Hope and How Determination Can Overcome Even Destiny
    $1.99 $0.99
  • As Good as True
    $4.99 $1.99
  • I Shall Be Near to You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • First Comes Love
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Last Telegram
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Spinning Heart: A Novel
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Ocean Liner
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Every Day Is Mother's Day
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Big Breasts and Wide Hips
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Pope Joan
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Breakdown: A Love Story
    $3.99 $0.99
  • A Blaze of Glory (Civil War: 1861-1865, Western Theater, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Silver Music Box (The Silver Music Box series Book 1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Peak
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell, #1)
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Big Nate: In a Class by Himself
    $6.74 $1.99
  • The Forgotten Recipe (Amish Heirloom #1)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Leaving (Bailey Flanigan, #1)
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Light Years (Cazalet Chronicles, #1)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Shepherdess of Siena
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Mother's Secret (Hearts of Lancaster Grand Hotel #2)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Chasing Rainbows: A Novel
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Perfect Son
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Feathered Bone
    $6.99 $1.99
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »