Arguing With the Storm
Introduction by Kathryn Hellerstein
Recently rediscovered and newly translated, here are humorous, bittersweet, and tragic stories and memoir, spanning the 1890s to the 1970s. With many contributors writing during the Golden Age of Yiddish, the collection evokes the shtetl, abortive revolutions in Tsarist Russia, the Holocaust, and, according to Outlook "the contradictions and emotional pulls between the expectations and mores of Jewish life in Europe and in North America."
"These brave women of a century and more ago left us thinly disguised stories and actual memoir of the cruel times in which they lived. The result is . . . immensely readable."
"Each story shines. Relations with parents, siblings, lovers, the environs, the society, are all explored."
"What makes these [stories] so surprising . . . is not their foreignness but the emotional depths that resonate so profoundly . . . each [story] presents a kind of homespun clarity, a sophistication that comes not from cosmopolitanism but from the ability to accept a flawed but vitally alive world . . . these stories are charming and remarkably compelling. . . . The authors were unafraid to shine their lanterns into the dark corners of their own world, and the result is heartrending. This valuable collection is worth reading for its literary merit alone. But with so much of the vast Yiddish culture already lost to us, these stories are also valuable for their sociological insights into Jewish life of a not-so-distant era."
"From the tale of a grandmother who finds work in a munitions factory, to a memoir of the Dvinsk ghetto, to a love-story in a suburban old-age home, these affecting stories offer sometimes searing, sometimes touching glimpses into a swiftly disappearing mental landscape . . . and the lost world from which it comes."
"This collection not only adds to the body of work of writers already in translation . . . but also further expands the Yiddish canon with translation of four artists never before read in English. . . . What they all reflect collectively is women artists' passionate engagement with their Jewish communities and history. The stories and memoir depict revolution, gender and class conflict, acculturation . . . and Holocaust and post-Holocaust experiences."
“Since the 1980s there has been a concerted worldwide effort to revive the Yiddish language and its vast literary legacy. This Winnipeg inspired anthology is certain to add to that renaissance.”
“Arguing with the Storm is clearly a labour of love, a grassroots literary undertaking with broad literary appeal.”