To a large degree, In Mr. Lublin’s Store sums up Agnon’s thematic and formal development. This novel is also a prime example of an objective correlative for a world that is out of joint—a world where a plot is no longer possible because impersonal forces deriving from the setting where it takes place, Germany, no longer permit development of a normal plot. Only the components of the place, which determine the fate of many individuals who live there, can be described. The entire tradition has been undermined, although many of the characters yearn for it in their nostalgia for the shtetl of their birth. However, there is no hope of returning home; there is no chance to rebuild the fallen tabernacle of the tradition.
S.Y. Agnon’s final, posthumous novel, now in English translation for the first time, fully annotated and with an insightful Foreword by translator Glenda Abramson. In Mr. Lublin’s Store, set in Leipzig during World War I, is a profound commentary on exile and Zionism, assimilation and faith, Germans and Jews, and the pull that the past exercises on the present. Translated and with a foreword by Glenda Abramson, Oxford University. Afterword by renowned Israeli author Haim Be’er exploring the role of the novel in Agnon’s canon and the symbolism of books and reading to unlock the secret to 29 pp of illustrated annotations by series editor Jeffrey Saks, excavating the many sources in biblical and rabbinical literature Agnon drew on as well as the relaia of the historical time and place in which the novel is set.
The New York Review of Books surveys The Toby Press S.Y. Agnon Library in “The Great Genius of Jewish Literature”