“Lost Books” is a weekly series highlighting forgotten books through the prism of Tablet Magazine’s and Nextbook.org’s archives. So blow the dust off the cover, and begin!
Myron Brinig, whose much-acclaimed 1929 debut novel Singermann told the story of a Romanian émigré with five kids in a Western mining town and bore many similarities to Brinig’s own childhood in Butte, Montana, has been long forgotten in the literary world. Born December 22, 1896, Brinig left for New York in 1914 to attend college (NYU and then Columbia) and looked back only through his work.
As Margy Rochlin wrote in 2007, upon the publication of The Taos Truth Game, a fictionalized account of Brinig’s life, the gay writer—who featured gay sons in Singermann—was perhaps too far ahead of his time to reach widespread, and lasting, acceptance. “An American Jew, writing in the late 1920s and 1930s from experience as far removed from Jewish culture as Butte, Brinig was an entity unto himself,” Rochlin wrote. “Unable to classify him, most literary scholars simply forgot him.” Don’t make their mistake!
Read Westward Expansion, by Margy Rochlin
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.