From the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Penitent is the story of Joseph Shapiro, a disillusioned and aimless man who discovers a purpose to his life through the Jewish faith. Following his journey as he flees Nazi persecution in Poland in 1939, through wealth and a failed marriage in New York, and on to Israel, it charts his transformation from worldly confusion to spiritual certainty in orthodox Judaism. This powerful work is an examination of the nature of faith, the question of identity and the notion of how to lead a good life.
Born in 1902, Isaac Bashevis Singer grew up among fellow Jewish families in Poland. In response to the growing Nazi threat in neighbouring Germany, Singer emigrated to America. Settling in New York, he worked as a journalist for a Yiddish-language newspaper, The Forward. Singer was insistent that even after the Second World War, a wide audience remained for Yiddish texts, and each of his novels were originally written in his native language. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1978. Since Singer's death on July 24 1991 his name has been used in honour for a street in Surfside, Florida, and for the full academic scholarship for undergraduate studies at the University of Miami.