“A Bizarre Double Game”

Isaac Bashevis Singer, Shadows on the Hudson (1998)
  • Lilian R. Furst


The phrase “a bizarre double game” occurs some two-thirds of the way through Singer’s posthumously published Shadows on the Hudson, which takes place primarily in New York City between November 1947 and November 1949. The verdict that he is playing “a bizarre double game” is made by Dr. Solomon Margolin, who had attended a yeshiva in Poland before becoming a physician in Berlin. A tall, erect man with a severe face and “the cold grey eyes of a Prussian Junker” (10), always fashionably dressed and beautifully manicured, a devotee of the athletic pastimes of the upper classes, able to speak Russian like a Muscovite, German like a Berliner, and English with an Oxford accent, Dr. Margolin stands astride the orthodox Jewish circles of his old friend, Boris Makaver, the novel’s central patriarchal figure, and the secular world to which he had been assimilated through his aristocratic clientele in Berlin. In New York too, “he belonged to all sorts of Gentile clubs” (10). The duality of his life is epitomized in his continuing intimacy with Boris on the one hand, and on the other the secret resumption of his marriage to Lise, the German woman who had been his wife in Berlin.


Down Syndrome Dinner Party Secular World Adopted Country Random Destination 
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© Lilian R. Furst 2005

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  • Lilian R. Furst

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