In Chaim Grade’s classic story, two Holocaust survivors meet in post-war Paris: one has cast aside God, while the other has become only more fanatical. Is there any common ground, or can one convince the other? There is a fury at the heart of this actionless, philosophical tale; readers end up drawn in by their, and our, need for closure. It is unclear if the story is meant as memoir, fiction, or something in between; or indeed if those categories would hold any interest for Grade. We can judge it only on what it tells us about belief and the search for meaning in the face of human depravity.
Chaim Grade was one of the foremost Yiddish writers of the post-war period. Born in 1910 in Vilna (Vilnius, Lithuania), and educated in a rigorous, controlling form of religious school, Grade broke away to write Yiddish poetry. Surviving the war in the Soviet Union, he returned to find his family murdered and immigrated to the United States. He turned more often to prose, writing novels, stories, and the extraordinary memoir My Mother’s Sabbath Days. He died in New York in 1982, leaving his estate in a shambles that made it impossible for new editions or translations of his work to appear. With the seeming resolution of that issue in recent years, new translations may now be forthcoming. Grade deserves a greater readership, and we’re pleased to bring his work to new audiences.
Link for more information: http://www.yivoencyclopedia.org/article.aspx/Grade_Chaim