Books

The Wizardry Of Amos Oz

In his latest meticulously crafted novel, Israel’s most famous living writer evokes a profound existential unease.

11/02/2011
Staff Writer

In Amos Oz’s new novel, or more accurately novel-in-short-stories, the sense of dread, of profound existential unease, is unmistakable. No character in Oz’s fictional Israeli village, Tel Ilan, where all the stories in “Scenes from Village Life” are set, is happy. No one is even remotely content with his lot.

Amos Oz

Casablanca Confidential

Joseph Braude drew on his Iraqi Jewish heritage and Arabic expertise to explore the workings of Moroccan policework.

11/01/2011
Staff Writer

A native of Providence, R.I., a son of Arabic and Lithuanian culture, Joseph Braude grew up in two worlds — his Baghdad-born mother’s tales of a childhood in Iraq and his Lithuanian-born grandfather’s Midrash lessons. There were the kasha varnishkes and qar’yie (an Iraqi vegetable dish) at Shabbat meals, and both Sephardic-style and Ashkenazic-style charoset on Passover.

The Arabic part stuck.

Joseph Braude, left, sharing a traditional meal with a friend in Morocco during his time working on “The Honored Dead,” chronicl

The Bard Of Brookline Has Her Moment

At 75, short story master Edith Pearlman is finally being recognized.

10/25/2011
Staff Writer

Recognition was never something Edith Pearlman asked for, but she can no longer ignore it.  This month, the 75-year-old Jewish writer was named a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction for her latest collection of short stories, “Binocular Vision.” And while Pearlman isn’t exactly dodging the limelight, she’s not going out of her way to bask in it, either.

After years as a writer, Edith Pearlman this month she was named a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction.

Egyptian Girlhood Interrupted?

In ‘Arrogant Years,’ Lucette Lagnado explores her and her mother’s different, and at times disappointing, paths.

09/20/2011
Jewish Week Book Critic

Lucette Lagnado’s mother Edith grew up in a humble stone house in an alleyway in Cairo’s main Jewish neighborhood in the 1920s and ‘30s. The strikingly beautiful Edith was known as the Belle of the Alleyway. Late every afternoon, Edith and her mother Alexandra, who had been abandoned by her husband, would sit on their balcony, drinking Turkish coffee, enjoying the breeze of the Sahara, and then perhaps take a stroll, arm-in-arm.

Lucette Lagnado's book "Arrogant Years."

‘Exodus’ And The Americanization Of Israel’s Founding

Maya Zack recreates a 1930s Berlin living room, complete with portents of doom.

09/06/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

An entire generation of American Jews — and Americans generally — were riveted by the 1958 best-selling novel, “Exodus,” and by the blockbuster movie two years later. Mining the “Wild West” genre, Leon Uris’ “Exodus” sold more than seven million copies in the United States, and was the underground “bible” for Soviet Jews.

Leon Uris painted an inspirational -- but far from balanced -- picture of Israel’s fight for independence.

‘Exodus’ And The Americanization Of Israel’s Founding

A new book explores the impact of Leon Uris’ 1958 bestseller — but ignores many of its inaccuracies and omissions.

08/31/2011
Special To The Jewish Week

An entire generation of American Jews — and Americans generally — were riveted by the 1958 best-selling novel, “Exodus,” and by the blockbuster movie two years later. Mining the “Wild West” genre, Leon Uris’ “Exodus” sold more than seven million copies in the United States, and was the underground “bible” for Soviet Jews.

The cover of M.M. Silver's "Our Exodus."

The Architecture Of Post-9/11 Life

A Jewish author, a Muslim protagonist and questions of identity in the Ground Zero-centered ‘The Submission.’

08/16/2011
Staff Writer

 There is a scene in “The Submission,” Amy Waldman’s new and much-discussed post-9/11 novel, where the Muslim-American architect who wins a Sept. 11 memorial competition confronts the competition’s chair, Paul Rubin, a Jewish tycoon not unlike Michael Bloomberg.

Amy Waldman’s debut novel.

The Jewish Echoes In ‘The Fulbright Triptych’

Forty years after Simon Dinnerstein completed his monumental painting, the complex work is getting a fresh look.

08/03/2011
Staff Writer

Germany was not Simon Dinnerstein’s first choice for a Fulbright grant. But he didn’t have much of a choice. It was 1970, and the Brooklyn-based artist, then 27, was barely making a living. He first applied to work with a noted Spanish painter, only listing Germany, to study the art of engraving in the birthplace of Dürer, as a back up.

Simon Dinnerstein: The Fulbright Triptych and Selected Works

The Limits Of Pacifism

Novelist Nicholson Baker argues that more negotiation with Hitler might have saved Jewish lives, a view shared by few historians.

06/21/2011
Staff Writer

If there is a holy grail for pacifists—an argument that would prove, once and for all, that war is simply never a good answer—it is the case that not fighting Hitler would have done more to stop the Holocaust than fighting him. After all, even people who call themselves pacifists today often make an exception for Hitler—him, they’d fight.

Baker's essay, "Why I'm A Pacifist," came out in the May 2011 issue of Harper's.

Writing As Mourning

Francisco Goldman grieves for, and in part recaptures, his late wife in ‘Say Her Name.’

06/14/2011
Staff Writer

In 2007, Aura Estrada, a 30-year-old writer and wife of the novelist Francisco Goldman, died in a tragic accident body surfing off the coast of Mexico. Goldman was devastated, not only feeling somehow responsible for her death — which, to this day, Aura’s mother insists he is — but also inconsolable, entombed by the grief of a man who lost the love of his life.

Say Her Name Book Cover
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