Jewish literature

Literature On The Lower East Side

Must Jewish literature written by a Jew? How about a book that focuses on a Jewish concern, or characters with a recognizably Jewish neurosis? Is contemporary Hebrew-language literature necessarily Jewish?

Jonathan Rosen, Tova Mirvis and Josh Lambert at the Museum at Eldridge Street.  Sharna Brzycki

Author Dara Horn

Jewish Week Culture Editor Sandee Brawarsky speaks with award-winning novelist Dara Horn about her latest work, "A Guide To The Perplexed" and the significance of history and memory in Judaism.

The Road Back To Haiti

New story in 'Haiti Noir' collection brings Mark Kurlansky back to the island nation.

01/19/2011
Staff Writer

Nearly all of the 18 short stories in the new "Haiti Noir" collection are written by Haitians. The book's editor, the prominent Haitian writer Edwidge Danticat, made an exception, however, for Mark Kurlansky.

A 62-year-old Jewish writer who lives in New York City, Kurlansky is well known for his best-selling histories of food - on salt, on cod, on oysters. But writers that know him well, like Danticat, are well aware of his longtime involvement with Haiti.

Mark Kurlansky

A Gentler Richler In ‘Barney’s Version?’

01/19/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

Published four years before his death at 70, Mordecai Richler’s last novel, “Barney’s Version,” has a certain valedictory feeling, a summing-up at the end of the journey that is uncharacteristically devoid of the nasty edge of early works like “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.”

“Barney’s Version," a film adaptation of Mordecai Richler’s last novel

The Year in Jewish Culture

The top 10 moments (in no particular order) of 2010 in arts and letters.

Staff Writer
01/14/2011

PETER BEINART FIGHTS FOR LIBERAL ZIONISM

As the former editor of The New Republic, a liberal magazine, but one with a strong pro-Israel bent, Peter Beinart shocked Jews of all stripes when he published a scathing critique of the organized Jewish community in May in The New York Review of Books. Beinart, 39, argued that groups from AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, to the Anti-Defamation League have failed to make Zionism an attractive ideal for young American Jews, who are mostly liberal.

The Chabad Scribe

Yehoshua November’s award-winning debut poetry collection brings the divine presence to everyday life.

12/14/2010
Jewish Week Book Critic

‘Sometimes you see them/in the dressing area/of the ritual bath,” Yehoshua November begins his poem, “Baal Teshuvas at the Mikvah.

God's Optimism

Guilt On Trial

Elie Wiesel’s new novel explores themes of memory, justice and journalistic ethics.

Jewish Week Book Critic
11/16/2010

When Werner Sonderberg replies “Guilty … and not guilty,” after being asked to enter his plea in a New York courtroom, the judge and spectators are stunned. Sonderberg, a young German expatriate who is accused of murder, seems to want to explain something to the court, but he is silenced.

A complex murder trial forms the underpinning of Wiesel’s new novel.

Mr. Bellow’s Planet

11/16/2010
Staff Writer

Fittingly, the story of how novelist Benjamin Taylor became the editor of the newly published collection of Saul Bellow’s letters begins with a letter. Not a letter between Bellow and Taylor, to be sure — they never knew each other, in fact — but a letter between Taylor and Philip Roth.

The novelist’s letters — 708 of them — reveal his complicated relationship with Jewish life.

Outsider Art, From An Insider

Gary Shteyngart is still training his satiric gaze on the immigrant experience, Jewish and otherwise.

08/03/2010
Staff Writer

‘I don’t feel any need to disassociate with Jews,” said Gary Shteyngart, the phenomenally popular 38-year-old writer whose third novel, “Super Sad True Love Story,” released last week, is chock full of them.

Gary Shteyngart

Song Of The Open Road

In ‘An American Type,’ Henry Roth suggests that there is a heavy price to be paid for America’s freedom, and for Jewishness itself.

Staff Writer
06/16/2010

The wisest way to approach a posthumous novel is with low expectations. Given that, you wouldn’t be wrong to afford some grace to Henry Roth’s new posthumous novel, “An American Type” (Norton), cobbled together from 1,900 disordered manuscript pages that were left untouched for nearly a decade after he died. And yet the book hardly needs it. 

An American Type
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