Yakov Ivanov is an elderly coffin-maker in a small village with a population that doesn’t generate enough deaths for him to make any real money. He is also a fiddler who sometimes sits in with a Jewish klezmer orchestra in spite of his dislike of Jews and of the flutist, Rothchild, in particular. Marfa, his long-suffering and unloved wife, becomes mortally ill with a contagious illness. He struggles to recall their shared past as he builds her coffin and soon he, too, succumbs to mortal illness, provoking a self-searching meditation and a change of heart.
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