Books: Province of Irony

LOST IN AMERICA by Isaac Bashevis Singer Illustrations by Raphael Soyer Doubleday; 259 pages; $17.95

In The Once and Future King, T.H.

White imagined Merlin as a wizard who lived backward, progressing from dotage to youth. It was yet another instance of literature anticipating life—as, for example, the life of Isaac Bashevis Singer.

At 76, Singer writes with the vigor of a man arriving at his prime. It seems impossible to think of the Nobel laureate as anything but a master of "impassioned narrative art," for which he was cited in 1978.

But it was not always so. In Lost in America, Singer recalls...

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