"And we are here as on a darkling plain..."; First Edition of Cynthia Ozick's The Shawl; Signed by Her
Item Number: 43827
New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989.
First edition of this classic short story. Octavo, original half cloth. Signed by the author on the title page, with the added quote, “Cynthia Ozick and we are here as on a darkling plain…” Fine in a near fine dust jacket. Jacket design by Barbara de Wilde. A unique example.
This short story and novella, both O. Henry Prize winners, together create a picture of Rosa Lubin's life. The title story tells of Rosa's fifteen-month-old daughter's death in a concentration camp and the shawl that provided her daughter with satisfaction Rosa's breasts could no longer give. "Rosa," the novella, takes place more than thirty years later in southern Florida where it is "Summer without end, a mistake!" Rosa was exiled to Florida after destroying her shop in Brooklyn; she had to leave the state or be put in a mental institution. With financial help from her niece, who Rosa thinks is evil, she is able to stay in Florida. She knows she can depend on her niece because Rosa saved her life in the concentration camp; Rosa knows too, that her niece was the cause of her daughter's death. Rosa lives in two worlds: she functions in one called earth, but to Rosa, the real world is where her long-dead daughter lives. In letters to her daughter, she comments about her niece: "Because she fears the past she distrusts the future - it, too, will turn into the past. As a result she has nothing." Rosa is a woman who, through the loss of her country, her family, and her daughter, lost herself.