The velist Gabriel Josipovici's new book of essays ranges from writings on the Bible, Shakespeare, Kafka, Borges and the Israeli velist Aharon Appelfeld to considerations of Rembrandt's self-portraits, death in Tristram Shandy, and what Kierkegaard has to tell us about the writing of fiction. From the title piece, which examines the relationship between artists' works and their beliefs, to the concluding meditations on memory and the Holocaust, The Singer on the Shore is unified by the twin themes of Jewish experience, with its consciousness of exile and the time-bound nature of human activity, and of the role of the work of art as a toy, to be played with and dreamed about. Josipovici's explorations are informed by his own experience as a velist. He is thus both authoritative and undogmatic. This volume, like a book of poems, rewards repeated reading: it t only illuminates the topics with which it deals, it also raises the large question of the place of art in life and of the possibilities open to art today.
Gabriel Josipovici was born in Nice in 1940 and lived in Egypt from 1945 to 1956. He read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford, and is now Professor of English in the School of European Studies at the University of Sussex. Carcanet publish his novels and fictions Contre-Jour (1986), In the Fertile Land (1987), Steps (1990), The Big Glass (1991), In a Hotel Garden (1993), Moo Pak (1995) and Now (1998) and his essays Text and Voice (1993).