Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural

Author: Howard Schwartz

First line: One day a boy playing hide-and-seek sees a finger in the hollow trunk of a tree.

Why you should read this book: One of several of the author's excellent collections of little-known Jewish folklore, this book offers a wide panorama of tales of the fabulous, with an inimitable helping of Yiddishkeit and a liberal sprinkling of Kabbalistic influence. Demons, witches, werewolves, corpse brides, and wizards run rampant through the stories of pious Jews at the mercy of the hidden world, while wise rabbis administer justice and (usually) save the day. A scholarly introductions and plenty of notes and commentary elevate this from a joyful book of magical fairy tales to an important literary and historical reference.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You can't stomach the occasional triumph of evil.

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