Der Nister (1884-1950) was the pen name used by Pinhas Kahanovitch, a Yiddish writer, philosopher, translator, critic, and key figure in modernist literature in Kiev in the 1920s. In 1921, in the wake of the Russian Revolution, Der Nister left Russia and settled in Germany, where he published two collections of stories. In 1927, he returned to the Soviet Union, where his work was
declared reactionary by the Soviet regime and its literary critics. He was arrested in 1949 and died in a Soviet prison hospital in 1950.
The story of three brothers—a businessman, a mystic, and a savant—that is a brilliantly innovative fusion of modernist art and traditional storytelling. “The restitution of this Yiddish masterwork—as life-saturated as the other great Russian novels—is an augmentation of world literature.” —Cynthia Ozick