Reviews and Interviews: The Dark Young Man

Books and Blintzes

“Dinezon is a natural story-teller, maintaining humor and suspense throughout the book. His diverse cast of characters, while sometimes veering towards the predictable, jump off the page with a vibrant humanity. . . . Readers who enjoy a good story with a strong plot and well-developed characters will find much to appreciate in The Dark Young Man.” (Read Review)

The Jewish Book Council

“Tina Lunson’s excellent English translation (the first ever) vividly captures mid-nineteenth century Jewish life in Eastern Europe, revealing not only its particular culture but also its parallels to today’s Jewish experience. . . . Dinezon’s themes and insights not only bring a complex era to life; they are also surprisingly relevant to our own time, especially in terms of the ongoing quest for female autonomy.” (Read Review)

Words without Borders: The Watchlist: February 2019

“The essential conflict at the center of Jacob Dinezon’s novel is an almost archetypal one: a pair of star-crossed lovers and a malicious figure, close to both, who devotes himself to the utter destruction of any happiness they might have. That in combination with Dinezon’s passionate feelings about religious hypocrisy and the flaws of arranged marriages makes for a fine blend of philosophy and melodrama.” (Read Review)

The New York Journal of Books

“Dinezon’s writing is poignant and haunting; his characters are bright, intense, and unforgettable. . . . Jacob Dinezon is truly a giant in Yiddish literature.” (Read Review)

Yiddish Forward

“Jacob Dinezon’s novel, ‘The Dark Young Man,’ is now available in English. Mikhail Krutikov explains how this soap opera-style bestseller in 1877 isn’t much different from today’s Jewish literature.” (Read Review in Yiddish)

Deborah Kalb’s Interview with Scott Hilton Davis

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb. “This is not a shtetl story. It doesn’t take place in a little village. This is about young Jews—17 to 21—living in the city of Mohilev in the Russian Empire. We get a realistic depiction of Jewish urban life in the 1840s. We see what young people were struggling with in terms of arranged marriages, assimilation, and the impact of modernity on traditional Jewish life.” (Read Interview)

Faye Rapoport DesPres’s Interview with Scott Hilton Davis

Writers in the Trenches: Scott Hilton Davis brings Yiddish Stories to an American Audience. “The English translations we’ve published are well-written, compelling stories that vividly depict Jewish life in the Russian Empire in the 1800s. Like other social reformers, Dinezon held up a mirror and showed his readers both the bright side—love, hope, aspirations for a better world—and the dark side—persecution, poverty, violence, death. He didn’t pull any punches. We see in his novels what life was really like for our grandparents and great-grandparents who were living in urban communities and not in shtetls. There’s no nostalgia in Dinezon’s writing; no longing for the good old days. So in addition to being fascinating Jewish literature, these works are important historical documents.” (Read Interview)