cover image Jewish Legends

Jewish Legends

Stefan Zweig, Author, Cedar Paul, Translator, Eden Paul, Translator M. Wiener Pub. $9.94 (263p) ISBN 978-0-910129-59-6

Zweig, the Austrian-Jewish author whose popular biographies and novels were read throughout Europe before World War II, wrote several excellent stories about Jews during the Nazi period. For the first time, this collection, published originally in Sweden, is appearing in the U.S. In these finely crafted pieces, Zweig skillfully explores questions of humanity, morality and religion. The best story is ""Buchmendel,'' a compelling portrait of a secondhand book dealer in Vienna whose disinterest in everything except books proves tragic for him during the dehumanizing brutality of World War I. Another deftly told tale, ``Virata or the Eyes of the Undying Brother,'' concerns a holy man in ancient India who learns that he cannot retreat from the world and that his actions affect the lives of others, sometimes disastrously. Some stories, like the self-consciously written ``Rachel Arraigns with God,'' are not as successful. Generally, however, this is a powerful and haunting compilation. (November)