"These wonderful and unique stories describe a Jewish world rarely seen in Yiddish letters, a world of women writers and dreamers. Kirzane’s translations bring these stories to life for the contemporary reader."—Allison Schachter, Vanderbilt University
"An important work of feminist excavation that is so much more fun than that phrase implies, giving us a chance to read the words of a lively, complex writer in her prime. Kirzane’s translation makes the Yiddish inflections sing with life, and made me feel a warm connection to a writerly foremother I barely knew before."—Sarah Seltzer, executive editor, Lilith Magazine
"Spanning four tumultuous decades and ranging from Boston to Paris to Palestine, the sparkling novella, memoirs, and stories translated here for the first time make it unmistakable: Miriam Karpilove has arrived, and not a minute too soon, as one of the major voices of American Jewish literature."—Josh Lambert, author of The Literary Mafia: Jews, Publishing, and Postwar American Literature
"I love especially the very funny title story 'A Provincial Newspaper' and its sardonic anonymous female narrator who describes the utter absurdity of the sexism, condescension and egotism of the men who control the provincial Yiddish newspaper for which she writes."—Irena Klepfisz, author of Her Birth and Later Years: New and Collected Poems, 1971-2021
When the young narrator of Miriam Karpilove’s A Provincial Newspaper leaves New York to work for a new Yiddish newspaper in Massachusetts, she expects to be treated with respect as a professional writer. Instead, she finds herself underpaid and overworked. In this slapstick novella, Karpilove’s narrator lampoons the gaggle of blundering publishers and editors who put her through the ringer and spit her back out again.
Along with A Provincial Newspaper, this captivating collection includes nineteen stories originally published in Forverts in the 1930s, during Karpilove’s time as a staff writer at that newspaper. In the stories, we find a large cast of characters—an older woman navigating widowhood, a writer rebuffed by dismissive audiences, American-born Jewish girls unable to communicate with Yiddish-speaking immigrants, and a painter so overcome with jealousy about his muse’s potential lover that he misses his opportunity with her—each portrayed with both sympathy and irony, in ways unexpected and delightful. Also included are Karpilove’s recollections of her arrival in Palestine in 1926, chronicled with the same buoyant cynicism and witty repartee that is beloved by readers of her fiction.
Miriam Karpilove (1886–1956) published dramas, criticism, sketches, short stories, and novellas in a variety of prominent Yiddish periodicals during her fifty-year career. She was a member of the Forverts staff, publishing seven novels and numerous works of short fiction between 1929 and 1937.
Jessica Kirzane is assistant instructional professor of Yiddish in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago and editor in chief of In geveb: A Journal of Yiddish Studies. She is the translator of Diary of a Lonely Girl, or The Battle against Free Love, also by Miriam Karpilove.
6 x 9, 296 pages