Friday, May 1, 2015

Beginning ~ with three dead languages

Shosha ~ by Isaac Bashevis Singer, 1978, fiction (Poland)
I was brought up on three dead languages — Hebrew, Aramaic, and Yiddish (some consider the last not a language at all) — and in a culture that developed in Babylon:  the Talmud.
Besides the fact that I've read other books by Isaac Bashevis Singer and like his writing, I learned "three dead languages" when I was younger.  My three, however, were Latin (when I was in high school), Hebrew (when I was a young mother), and Greek (in college and seminary).  Just for the record, I also took college German, and it isn't a dead language at all.  That may sound like an odd reason to "adopt" this discarded book from my library, but I admit that I'm a bit odd.  Here's the story line:
Aaron Greidinger was an aspiring young writer and son of a rabbi growing up in Warsaw between the two world wars.  He struggled to be true to his art when faced with the chance at riches and a passport to America.  Should he go to New York with the only two people who could guarantee his safety and success?  Or should he stay in Poland and face the Holocaust with his people and with Shosha, his childhood sweetheart, who had never really grown up?
UPDATE on 5-3-15:  I should have specified koine Greek, the version of Greek spoken in the first century.   I also studied classical Greek.  There are, of course, still Greek speakers in the world today!



Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

4 comments:

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I've heard of this author, of course, but I've never read any of his books. This one sounds interesting to me because of the time frame in which it takes place. I hope you enjoy it!
My Friday post features MIDDLE-AGED CRAZY.

Amy Crawshaw said...

That sounds like a fascinating book...my three boys have all taken Latin and Greek in high school which has been part of a wonderful education for them. Dead languages can still teach us a lot!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Amy, I just realized I should have specified koine Greek, the version of Greek spoken in the first century. I also studied classical Greek. There are, of course, still Greek speakers in the world today!

Elizabeth said...

Interesting cover and first line.

Thanks for sharing, and I hope you are enjoying the book.

Elizabeth
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