The Mill on the River Bug

It’s from the cemetery that one can see this beautiful mill, half of which is currently a hydroelectric plant operated by Germans. When I try to imagine the lives of my great-grandparents and my grandfather in this tiny village, famous for its Hasidic culture, I turn for help to a literary landscape I know better, hoping for an analogy. In the opening pages of George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, the narrator describes the “rush of the water and the booming of the mill [that] bring a dreamy deafness which seems to heighten the peacefulness of the scene.” But despite the similarity of these nineteenth-century scenes of rural village life dependent on the success of a mill, this tiny world belongs to another history.

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