When the Angels Left the Old Country
June 19, 2023 10:11 AM - Subscribe
Little Ash, a lesser son of the famed demon king Ashmedai, studies Talmud all day with his counterpart, a forgetful angel, in the synagogue of a tiny Jewish town in the Pale of Settlement. But Little Ash wants to see more than their unnamed shtetl: He convinces the angel to go to America, ostensibly to find out what happened to Essie, the baker’s daughter who hasn’t written since she left Warsaw. Steeped in Ashkenazi lore, custom, and faith, this beautifully written story deftly tackles questions of identity, good and evil, obligation, and the many forms love can take. Queerness and gender fluidity thread through both the human and supernatural characters, clearly depicted without feeling anachronistic.