Books: Descent into Abaddon

THE FAMILY MOSKAT by Isaac Bashevis Singer. 611 pages. Farrar, Straus & G/roux. $5.95.

Isaac Singer, who was born in Poland and now lives in New York, has been comfortably labeled the greatest living master of Yiddish prose—a judgment that is a kind of dismissal. But The Family Moskat, unavailable for many years and now reissued, makes clear his right to stand among the important contemporary novelists of any creed or any language.

Its setting is ostensibly remote—Warsaw's 600-year-old ghetto. And Singer's novel might be read only as a superbly vivid chronicle of its...

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