Aaron Greidinger is a portrait of Isaac Bashevis Singer as a young man. Both are red-haired vegetarians who grew up on Krochmalna Street. Both are the sons of rabbis but have abandoned traditional Judaism for the secular world. Both are writers, and both write about dybbuks, demons, and false Messiahs. Both are puzzled by the mysteries of the universe; both are irresistibly attractive to and attracted by women.
Shosha is not, however, absolute autobiography. Whereas Singer’s first-known literary effort (in 1925) won a prize, Aaron must struggle many years before success comes to him. Aaron also remains in Poland longer than did Singer, who left in the early 1930’s and thus did not face the rising tide of anti-Semitism in the country. Nor did Singer ever return to live on Krochmalna Street once he had left. Through Aaron, then, he seems to imagine what his life might have been like had he chosen another course.
While Aaron bears certain similarities to Singer, Shosha does not at all resemble his first wife. This woman (Shosha) who remains a child does not seem likely to interest Aaron, who is involved in affairs with four other women when he meets her again after two decades. Perhaps, though, her innocence fascinates him; perhaps, too, in marrying her, he seeks to reunite himself with a past that he has rejected intellectually but emotionally has never abandoned. Throughout his adulthood, he has dreamed of Shosha, suggesting that...
(The entire section is 504 words.)