Literary Guides

Guilt On Trial

Elie Wiesel’s new novel explores themes of memory, justice and journalistic ethics.
Jewish Week Book Critic
11/15/2010 - 19:00

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.

Paris, When It Fizzles

In reworking Henry James’ ‘The Ambassadors,’ Cynthia Ozick strikes a chord for America against a post-Shoah Europe.
Special To The Jewish Week
11/15/2010 - 19:00

What inspires an artist? Cynthia Ozick’s new novel, “Foreign Bodies” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is in part an attempt to answer that much vexed question, though as we know from her prior writing, there is never one simple answer. Inspiration can come as an angry bang on a piano is translated to a symphony, as it does in this novel.

New world symphony: In “Foreign Bodies,” novelist Cynthia Ozick views post-war America as more civilized than Europe.

High Drama, On And Off Stage

First English-language biography of Sarah Bernhardt in decades captures her complicated life.
Jewish Week Book Critic
11/15/2010 - 19:00

When my sisters and I were overly dramatic while growing up, we were lovingly rebuked, “You’re a regular Sarah Bernhardt.” We weren’t the only ones to hear this line, which echoed across suburbs and cities.

Robert Gottlieb’s “Sarah” reflects the highs and lows of Sarah Bernhardt’s life, which gained international renown a century ago

Roth The Theologian

In a Newark playground, who shall live and who shall die?
Special To The Jewish Week
11/15/2010 - 19:00

With his latest novel, “Nemesis” (Houghton Mifflin), Philip Roth enters the realm of theology. Set in the summer of 1944, in the mostly Jewish Weequahic section of Newark, it is ostensibly the story of Bucky Cantor, a vital, young, virtue-driven athlete and gym teacher deemed unfit for World War II combat because of his faulty eyesight.

In his latest novel, Philip Roth delves into the randomness of the universe as the polio epidemic grips Newark in 1944.

Literary Guide Fall 2010

Our annual November book section features some heavyweight fiction from Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick and Elie Wiesel. Plus, inside the Soviet Jewry movement, a new biography of Sarah Bernhardt and new cookbooks from some Top Jewish Chefs.
Staff Writer
11/15/2010 - 19:00
Fall Literary Guide

Jewish Identity, Up For Grabs

Special To The Jewish Week
11/09/2009 - 19:00
‘Very few people know who I am,” Salvador Dalí is reputed to have said, “And I am not one of them.” Well, count me in — at least when it comes to the question of what is a Jew. Are Jews a national group? A religion? A race? Are Jews an “ethnicity” — whatever that means? A language group? All of the above? Some of the above?

A World In A Decade

Jewish Week Book Critic
11/09/2009 - 19:00
As we near the end of the first decade of the new century, I wonder which books we’ll later look back on as best capturing our present time. This season, several new books are fine period pieces, conjuring other eras. Non-fiction narratives depict a particular time and place through research and documentation; novels do so through invention, embellishing actual events.

Last Act

Staff Writer
11/09/2009 - 19:00
It is understandable that many Philip Roth admirers have been disappointed by his recent novels. Hanging over them all is Roth’s morbid fixation on death, and not even graceful deaths, but ones of an utterly savage, genuinely tragic kind. Here is the exuberant writer who gave us “Portnoy’s Complaint,” (1969) about a postwar adolescent brimming with libidinous energy, now coming up with “Indignation,” (2008) where a studious, straight-A student dies before having barely been laid.

Getting Around Grandma’s Chicken Soup

Associate Editor
11/09/2009 - 19:00
With his much-hyped new book, “Eating Animals,” Jonathan Safran Foer has managed to do something that my vegetarian husband and daughter have been unable to pull off: sworn me off meat, at least all conventionally raised meat.
Syndicate content