In 1908, a Russian newspaper in Kiev asked for an autobiographical sketch, and Sholom decided to use a third-person narrative voice for what became a memoir. From the Fair was published in short installments, serialized for newspaper readers. It takes us from the author’s childhood in a Pale of Settlement shtetl to his first love and his early attempts at writing fiction and drama.
“I, Sholom Aleichem the writer, will tell the true story of Sholom Aleichem the man,” he writes, “informally and without adornments and embellishments, as if an absolute stranger were talking, yet one who accompanied him everywhere, even to the seven divisions of hell.”
The result is essential background for Aleichem’s works of fiction.
Curt Leviant is a prizewinning novelist, author of The Yemenite Girl and Passion in the Desert. His short stories and novellas have been published in many magazines and have been included in Best American Short Stories, Prize Stories and other anthologies. He has won the Wallant Prize, an O. Henry Award, and is a Fellow in Literature of the National Endowment for the Arts. A frequent lecturer on Yiddish and Hebrew literature, he has also translated three other Sholom Aleichem collections.
eBook From the Fair