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A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories. Hardcover – Jan 1 1984


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre / Not Applicable (Jan. 1 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374132178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374132170
  • Product Dimensions: 21.1 x 13.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ziggy, the Last of the Space Cowboys on Jan. 22 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The late Isaac Bashevis Singer was a storyteller of genius, and "A Crown Of Feathers", is one of his finest collections of short stories, and because of its variety, serves as a superb intoduction to this master storyteller. This was my first Singer book. I picked it up at a garage sale some time back after reading a brief synopsis of the book and a quote stating that Isaac Bashevis Singer is the "greatest writer alive today" (this edition of the book is quite old, as Singer died in 1991).
The stories had two qualities which I found highly enjoyable. Firstly, Singer's combination of modern realism with Jewish folklore and fantasy is what first got me hooked, as I myself am Jewish and have a great interest in our religion, folklore and mythology. Secondly, the simple, direct style in which the stories were written. It was as if Singer himself was sitting in front of me telling a story. The book certainly did not disapoint and I finished it in a matter of days. It was such an enthralling read, that I raided most the second-hand book shops in the neighbourhood for Singer books. Now I have quite a large Singer collection of both novels and short stories - all of them works of art in their own right. This collection of twenty-four stories is varied - ghost stories, fables set in little Polish-Jewish villages and stories set in pre-World War II Warsaw and post-World War II New York. Although most of the stories have a distinctly Jewish flavour, many of the themes, including love, lust, politics, greed and family life are universal. Some of the tales end in twists, which can often leave you surprised or spooked, not that this is a bad thing, of course.
My favourite stories are as follows: "A Crown Of Feathers" is a phantasmagoric tale of a young woman losing and then trying to regain her faith.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on May 16 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Singer is a genius at creating tiny worlds, self-ecapsulated and yet part of a wider whole, as if subject to immutable laws of nature. You could argue that all of his characters are subtly different or that all of them are the same, so perfect is each world. There is also a unique mixture of realism and mysticism, the unseen world that operates behind appearences and yet is never fully explained. Simply brilliant.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All these novels are so enthralling, the fine balance between wisdom and lack of progress in one's soul create tensions a prevailing anxiety and a continuous search for what is beyond what we see and what is all about after all. Laughter is not absent from these profound philosophical gems.
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Format: Hardcover
an excellent collection of short stories by mr. singer
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Timeless Passions, Ancient Powers, New Forces Jan. 22 2001
By Ziggy, the Last of the Space Cowboys - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The late Isaac Bashevis Singer was a storyteller of genius, and "A Crown Of Feathers", is one of his finest collections of short stories, and because of its variety, serves as a superb intoduction to this master storyteller. This was my first Singer book. I picked it up at a garage sale some time back after reading a brief synopsis of the book and a quote stating that Isaac Bashevis Singer is the "greatest writer alive today" (this edition of the book is quite old, as Singer died in 1991).
The stories had two qualities which I found highly enjoyable. Firstly, Singer's combination of modern realism with Jewish folklore and fantasy is what first got me hooked, as I myself am Jewish and have a great interest in our religion, folklore and mythology. Secondly, the simple, direct style in which the stories were written. It was as if Singer himself was sitting in front of me telling a story. The book certainly did not disapoint and I finished it in a matter of days. It was such an enthralling read, that I raided most the second-hand book shops in the neighbourhood for Singer books. Now I have quite a large Singer collection of both novels and short stories - all of them works of art in their own right. This collection of twenty-four stories is varied - ghost stories, fables set in little Polish-Jewish villages and stories set in pre-World War II Warsaw and post-World War II New York. Although most of the stories have a distinctly Jewish flavour, many of the themes, including love, lust, politics, greed and family life are universal. Some of the tales end in twists, which can often leave you surprised or spooked, not that this is a bad thing, of course.
My favourite stories are as follows: "A Crown Of Feathers" is a phantasmagoric tale of a young woman losing and then trying to regain her faith. It's full of witchcraft, sorcery and violent imagery and it might disturb the average reader on first reading, but it is a very moving and rewarding read. "Property" is an interesting look into the political theory of anarchism. "A Quotation From Klopstock" is a love story with a twist. "The Magazine" is all about holding on to dreams and aspirations and following them. These are just a few of the great stories included in this book. It is a shame that "A Crown Of Feathers and Other Stories" is now probably out of print, but have a look around for it, it will be well worth the search. I highly recommend this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
magical stories from a lost era March 3 2007
By Robert S. Newman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Polish Jewry under Russian rule, the Jews in post-1918 Poland, the exiled survivors of the Holocaust in New York---all these are times and people of the past. Nothing of them really survives. Yiddish is but a pale shadow of its former self. So even the words are like pink clouds of last week's sunset. How they struggled ! How they loved, fought, schemed and sacrificed--the writers, the revolutionaries, the holy men, the pretenders, the warped geniuses, the dispossessed. Unless we have a writer of the stature of Isaac Bashevis Singer, all this is gone forever. We are left with dusty tomes, the photos of Roman Vishniac, and some Holocaust museums with their tragic rooms telling of mass murder. But if I want to know what the world of my ancestors--your neighbors' ancestors--was like, you have to read Singer; this book or any other. Devils and nasty spirits haunt the pages, along with believers in occult rituals and spirit mediums. A woman under a curse loses everything and finally disappears herself. The ferment that shook Jewish life in Poland during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries lives here---new ideas of democracy, Communism, equality of the sexes, secular life shook traditional Judaism, still sunk in prayers, study of the Talmud, and the eternal wait for the Messiah. Sons full of new energy return to the village from America, full of plans, only to find that somnolence rules supreme. Tradition is happy. [But doomed.] In America, the surviving writers and would-be writers hang out in cafes and delicatessens, talking away their days over tea and rice pudding. It's a far cry from Hemingway ! Some lecture, write, publish--others only argue and go home to cramped apartments in decaying Manhattan buildings. Lovers lose their chances, have their older mistresses die in their beds, they fade, come to life, and fade again. There is no explaining why people do things---everything is contradictory when it comes to behavior. The ironies of Fate rule supreme. We read of endless permutations of the human condition. In A CROWN OF FEATHERS we not only find Jewish life and tradition, but we find all humanity represented, just as in the work of the world's finest writers. That is appropriate, because Singer was one of the world's finest writers. If you haven't read him, you can start with this book. None of the stories are bad, but some are breathtakingly, amazingly good.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
each story as if captured within a crystal May 16 2001
By Robert J. Crawford - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Singer is a genius at creating tiny worlds, self-ecapsulated and yet part of a wider whole, as if subject to immutable laws of nature. You could argue that all of his characters are subtly different or that all of them are the same, so perfect is each world. There is also a unique mixture of realism and mysticism, the unseen world that operates behind appearences and yet is never fully explained. Simply brilliant.
Highly recommended.
For the New to Live, The Old must Die.... April 25 2014
By An admirer of Saul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A collection of 25 short stories, each containing a mystical element and full of Bashevis Singers unequalled telling of the struggle between the old world orthodox Judaism and its trust in the Messiah coming, and the new worldly Jews living in a new and ever more volatile world.
Yet still Bashevis Singer explores the age old questions; why are we here ? Is creation an accident; all chance with a strictly scientific base ? What is truth ? (As Bashevis Singer says; if it does exist it is as intricate and hidden as in a crown of feathers !)
The stand out story, for me, is 'Grandfather and Grandson' where an unworldly and god fearing old Jew, Reb Morecai Meir, takes in his grandson, a young socialist revolutionary who believes in political solutions-not divine-to bring justice to the people. It encapsulates all that Bashevis Singer is about. A wonderful story in a wonderful collection by a wonderful writer. Stories to read, absorb and enjoy and learn humanity from.
Excellent book Oct. 7 2013
By Brenda Hans - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted a book of short stories by this author and this was excellent! It was well worth buying it.

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