by Isaac Bashevis Singer
translated from the Yiddish by the author
from the May 7, 2018 issue of The New Yorker
Three years ago The New Yorker published a never-before-published story from Isaac Bashevis Singer, and I’m thrilled that they have another. “The Boarder” was never before published in English but also, apparently, in Yiddish. There were no dates on the Yiddish original nor on the English translation, so it is not clear when this story was written. David Stromberg, the editor for the Singer estate, in his interview with Deborah Treisman, says he thinks it was likely in the mid-1950s but admits this is a guess, though I’m inclined to rely on his expertise.
I think Singer is a master, and “Inventions,” the one The New Yorker published in 2015, was wonderful (see the post here). There’s always a risk when a story is found among discarded manuscripts; why was it never published, in this case not even in Yiddish? Stromberg speculates it may have something to do with the subject matter. This may be spot on; after all, one character calls God “a Nazi to end all Nazis.”
I am very excited to read this one, and I hope you’ll all share what you thought of the story below.