From the Jewish Provinces Selected Stories by Fradl Shtok
Translated by Allison Schachter and Jordan D. Finkin
From the Jewish Provinces showcases a brilliant and nearly forgotten voice in Yiddish letters. An insistently original writer whose abrupt departure from the literary scene is the stuff of legend, Fradl Shtok composed stories that describe the travails of young women looking for love and desire in a world that spurns them. These women struggle with disability, sexual violence, and unwanted marriage, striving to imagine themselves as artists or losing themselves in fantasy worlds. The men around them grapple with their own frustrations and failures to live up to stifling social expectations. Through deft portraits of her characters’ inner worlds Shtok grants us access to unnoticed corners of the Jewish imagination.
Set alternately in the Austro‑Hungarian borderlands and in New York City, Shtok’s stories interpret the provincial worlds of the Galician shtetl and the Lower East Side with literary sophistication, experimenting with narrative techniques that make her stories expertly alive to women’s aesthetic experiences.
Northwestern University Press, 2021