Moshe Zvi Marvit is an absorbing writer, the kind of author whose descriptions linger in your brain long after you stop reading. His attention to detail is like something between Sherlock Holmes and a stalker.
His subjects are sometimes the Hasidic Jewish community in which he lives, and sometimes a Kafkaesque world of uncertainty and lunacy. “Petrushki’s Eulogy” is a story told as a literal eulogy, with extensive footnotes at the bottom of each page–conveying both the things said at a funeral as well as the things left unsaid. “Livery of Seisin” is a story about friendship and power struggles in a Hasidic boys’ school. In it, Marvit describes the Rebbe’s picture on the wall as one of the story’s main characters:
“Pictures of the Lubavitcher Rebbe hung everywhere in the school. He was the George Washington of our civics class, the Shakespeare of our English class, and the map of the world in our geography class. The photo was a bust with no chest, in color, but black and white because those were his only two colors.”
Urbesque (2006), Marvit’s first collection, is both beautiful and enigmatic. The book and its cover are crafted and bound by hand–and the stories inside are full of heart.
November 11, 2011