‘The Séance’ by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Roger H. Klein

Isaac Bashevis Singer writes intricate short stories, densely populated by languages (Yiddish, Polish, German and English), New York intellectuals, Holocaust survivors, demons, and ghosts. In ‘The Séance’, the aging Dr Kalisher, who has researched the system “according to which all things from the smallest grain of sand to the Godhead himself are Union” finds himself reduced to weekly spiritual séances, automatic paintings and vegetarian suppers with the “painted bulldog” Mrs. Kopitzky, who channels the spirit of Bhaghavar Krishna. Dr. Kalishner, who is suffering from a prostate complaint, and lives in a bug-ridden room, knows the séances are a joke. But ‘The Séance’ is a story about faith, what we need to believe in, and a particularly human, and hairy type of hope. Universal Rebirth. 

From The Séance and Other Stories. First published in Yiddish in 1964. First English publication 1968, FSG/Penguin

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