The End of Everything by David Bergelson
Originally published in 1913, The End of Everything is one of the great novels of the twentieth century. Considered David Bergelson’s masterpiece, it was written in Yiddish and until now has been unavailable in a complete and accurate English translation. This version by acclaimed translator Joseph Sherman finally brings the novel to a wide English-speaking audience.
A feminist classic, it is the Emma Bovary of Modern Yiddish literature. Bergelson depicts the lives of upwardly mobile, self-aware nouveaux riche Jews in the waning years of the Russian Empire. The central character, Mirel Hurvits, is an educated, beautiful woman who embodies the conflict between tradition and progress, aristocracy and enterprise. A forced marriage of convenience results in Mirel’s emotional disintegration and provokes a confrontation with the expectations of her pious family and with Jewish tradition. In a unique prose style of unsurpassable range and beauty, Bergelson reduces language to its bare essentials, punctuated by silences that heighten the sense of alienation in the story.