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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (802 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Isaac Bashevis Singer Narrator: Theodore Bikel Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781481511148
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Widely considered one of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s most notable works of short fiction, “Gimpel the Fool” was originally written in Yiddish. It was later translated into English by Saul Bellow and appeared in the 1953 edition of Partisan Review. The story, a parable, tells of a foolish, unlucky baker named Gimpel, who is constantly tricked and heckled by other villagers. His follies ultimately reveal a moral lesson.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Sparkling and triumphant, Isaac Bashevis Singer’s stories are filled with wonder, gratitude, humor, irony, and a wry eroticism that manages to exalt the pleasures of the flesh and the soul at the same time.”

    Washington Post Book World, praise for the author

  • “Singer is a genius. He has total command of his imagined world.”

    New Republic, praise for the author

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sharon | 2/8/2014

    " This book is a surprise read. I recommend it to anyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 gretl glick | 1/23/2014

    " i liked it so much i named my dog after the author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jgknobler | 1/15/2014

    " Singer writes in various stories about the concept of a town or a family being taken over by the devil, by evil. Indeed one of these stories, "The Gentleman from Cracow," seems virtually identical to "Satan in Goray," which I read a few years back. Somehow this externalization of evil feels wrong to me, or at least unhelpful. No one is really responsible for anything: the devil made me do it. Writing just a few years after the war and the holocaust, could Singer really see things in these terms? Of course the depiction of small-town Jewish life in Poland has plenty of charm. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty Davis | 1/9/2014

    " I read this many years ago while living on a kibbutz in Israel. He is a great story teller and I learned a lot about Jewish folklore, the Kabul, and eastern Europe during that time period.It's a quick read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Oana | 11/15/2013

    " Another classic. A must read as well "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Josh | 10/17/2013

    " such a fantastic storyteller. i'm reading this book for the second time in my life, and still i find so much new and thrilling in it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenelle | 10/12/2013

    " Love Singer! His stories are a wonderful blend of magic, mysticism and a rich tapestry of Yiddish culture. I relish all of his stories. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 9/20/2013

    " I read all the "Chelm" stories as a child, and found them absolutely delightful. The stories of the not-too-bright but well-meaning residents of the town of Chelm give a wonderful insight into Jewish life in small towns before the War. Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 7/8/2013

    " A story of a simple man who everyone thinks is a fool, but he proves them all wrong. Moving story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nina | 6/23/2013

    " I wish I could read this in the original Yiddish. I've got a feeling it would be even better. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Eva Leger | 6/12/2013

    " Absolutely adored this! I adore Singer's writing! There was one story that I wasn't overly fond of but every single other one was fantastic. Talent just flows from each of the books I've read by Singer so far. I can't wait to read more! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 rachel thomas | 12/18/2012

    " moderately misogynistic; still enjoyable. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pete | 11/12/2012

    " 10 stars!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 10/14/2012

    " Singer is just a great storyteller...these stories haven't aged much because they take place in some unknown time full of she-demons and dybbuks, where Satan is always trying to get you. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Matthew Berkshire | 8/30/2012

    " Enjoyable read. Singer is a great story teller, but he lacks the artistry of his translator. His shorts are good, and in some ways they remind me of Babel, though the author is not as efficient with his words. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick\ | 6/2/2012

    " Wonderful story telling by a master. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew Christ | 10/31/2011

    " I very much like the story of Gimpel the Fool. Singer's other stories I didn't read until much later. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dlynn | 7/12/2011

    " at first look, his stuff is harsh. but the more you read and think on it - it is really interesting. jewish mysticism, culture, etc. very revealing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark Terry | 6/22/2011

    " Listened to this on audio by Bikel. Good stories from a point of view I would not normally have experienced. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 marcin | 5/25/2011

    " a book i read that i associate with depression. it was self indulgent for me, i felt like a fool for being a fool. there was no way out of my body and it was cursed. maybe i'd find peace in my sleep. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Riley | 2/16/2011

    " I really like Isaac Singer, but these short stories largely missed for me. I think they were a little too mystical. The two I enjoyed the most were, "By the Light of Memorial Candles," and "The Old Man," both of which were very good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karin | 1/29/2011

    " I've never read anything by Isaac Singer that I did not like. His writings take us to another world, another time, another culture and makes it come to life. I am always glad to have spent that time with him there. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 1/2/2011

    " Forgot how good Singer can be, last story is annoying though "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisago5 | 11/29/2010

    " Everything he writes is a wonder -- he could not invent these characters -- they are all around us if only we can see as he has seen. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valissa | 11/2/2010

    " “No doubt the world is entirely an imaginary world, but it is only once removed from the true world.” "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 6/2/2010

    " Listened to this on audio by Bikel. Good stories from a point of view I would not normally have experienced. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Oana | 4/1/2010

    " Another classic. A must read as well "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 ?Eva? | 11/2/2009

    " Absolutely adored this! I adore Singer's writing! There was one story that I wasn't overly fond of but every single other one was fantastic. Talent just flows from each of the books I've read by Singer so far. I can't wait to read more! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lisago5 | 9/15/2009

    " Everything he writes is a wonder -- he could not invent these characters -- they are all around us if only we can see as he has seen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 David | 6/8/2009

    " Forgot how good Singer can be, last story is annoying though "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 4/14/2009

    " I very much like the story of Gimpel the Fool. Singer's other stories I didn't read until much later. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dlynn | 12/3/2008

    " at first look, his stuff is harsh. but the more you read and think on it - it is really interesting. jewish mysticism, culture, etc. very revealing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nina | 10/20/2008

    " I wish I could read this in the original Yiddish. I've got a feeling it would be even better. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jenelle | 5/20/2008

    " Love Singer! His stories are a wonderful blend of magic, mysticism and a rich tapestry of Yiddish culture. I relish all of his stories. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patrick\ | 4/13/2008

    " Wonderful story telling by a master. "

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About the Author
Author Isaac Bashevis Singer

Isaac Bashevis Singer (1904–1991) was the author of many novels, stories, children’s books, and memoirs. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978 and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Fiction in 1989.