When Yasha is sitting in the restaurant and thinking before attempting his theft, we have this paragraph:

"Why would all France glorify a tart?" Yasha wondered. Was this France? Was this the Western Europe of which Emilia spoke with such awe? Was this the culture, the art, the aestheticism that the journals wrote about with such fervor? He threw aside the magazine, which was immediately claimed by a white-mustached gentleman. Yasha extinguished his cigaret in the coffee dregs. All his reflections and speculations inevitably led to the one conclusion: he must get his hands on a large sum of money, if not legally, then by theft.
The Magician of Lublin, chapter 5, part 1 (translated by Elaine Gottlieb and Joseph Singer)

What does this rumination on the culture of Europe have to do with the need to acquire a large sum of money? How is this relevant?


1 Answer 1


It's a kind of joke. He is desperate for money. No matter what topic he considers, his thoughts return to that. Imagine: he has a beautiful new girlfriend. He reads an article in a magazine about the economics of solar energy, or a rock star's jail sentence, or a recipe for a cake, but all his reflections and speculations inevitably lead to the night he will spend with Gloria.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.