Helen Maryles Shankman, a Teaneck resident, has been writing a series of interlocked short stories. The stories are based in part on the true tale of the German officer through whose offices her mother survived the Nazis, and in part on classic supernatural themes.
One of these stories was just published by the Kenyon Review, perhaps the most prestigious literary publication in America. Entitled The Golem of Zukow, it begins like this:
The Mirsky mill nested at the fork of the Bug and Wlodawa rivers, near the liquid and ever-changing border with the Ukraine. At the hub of a cultivated patchwork of plowed fields, the plain stone structure could be observed for miles, a landmark in those parts, and was reached by way of a worn spur jutting off from the main road, exactly ten kilometers from everywhere.
Shayna and Hersh’s parents were the third generation of Mirskys to inherit the farm. As the sole proprietors of the only grist mill in a district famed for its endless fields of wheat and rye, Shayna and Hersh’s parents worked hard for the entire length of their short lives, wearing themselves out before they turned forty.
There were many who were willing to take advantage of the new orphans; after all, there was a Depression going on, the son was young and a dreamer, the daughter, just a girl. But Shayna’s black eyes crackled with a fierce intelligence, her tongue was quick and sharp, and she soon put an end to all that.
Now, read the rest.