Master of Dreams

Dvorah Telushkin, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-11866-2
During the last 14 years of Nobel laureate Singer's life (1904-91), Telushkin was his secretary, often his traveling companion on his lectures and readings and an informal editor and translator of his Yiddish. Although, as she shows, he owed much to her ability to keep him going as he declined physically and mentally, he suffered nevertheless from the unrelenting disabilities of aging in becoming--often despite increasing wealth and recognition--unreliable, unpredictable and miserly. Telushkin endured those traits and loyally remained. Her memoir evokes Singer and the texture of his life in Manhattan and Miami as he drifts, often unawares, into enfeebled old age. She records him as a warm limner of the shtetl and the immigrant experience, and as a cranky but compulsive writer who never gave his translators adequate credit or sufficient compensation. Once asked at a lecture why he wrote in a ""dying language,"" he quipped, ""I love to write about spirits and ghosts and nothing is better for a ghost than a dying language."" A sad and sometimes moving look at a master writer, Telushkin's portrait will be a source for future biographers. Photos. (Oct.) FYI: Oxford published another biography titled Isaac Bashevis Singer, by Janet Hadda, this spring (Forecasts, Mar. 10).
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 350 pages - 978-0-06-073933-1
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