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Mar. 31st, 2015

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Jewish books: The Empire of the Senses probes Jewish identity in Weimar Germany


"Alexis Landau’s cinematically descriptive, character-driven debut novel explores ethnic identity via an intermarried family in WWI and Weimar era Germany, i.e. before anti-Semitism became official state policy legally codifying ethnic definitions." -- from my New York Journal of Books review in which I praise the book as “handsomely written” as well as a “powerful and compelling novel.” My additional remarks and excerpts from the book appear in examiner.com.

Mar. 12th, 2015

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Israeli books: Five Selves explores five inner lives



“...recommended to readers who enjoy interior prose and psychological literary fiction.” -- from my review of Five Selves by Emanuela Barasch Rubinstein in New York Journal of Books. My additional remarks and excerpts from the book appear in examiner.com.

Feb. 13th, 2015

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Israeli books: Gail Hareven's Lies, First Person is a visceral novel of ideas

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"There are books that make us feel intensely and others that make us think deeply; one that does both is Gail Hareven’s opalescent and psychologically complex eleventh novel Lies, First Person (in the original Hebrew Hashkarim Ha’aharonim Shel Hagoof which literally translates as The Body’s Last Lies), which is only the second (The Confessions of Noa Weber) of her 13 books for adults to be published in English in Dalya Bilu’s fine translation." - From my New York Journal of Books review

"Lies, First Person, Gail Hareven’s second novel to be translated into English (the eleventh of her thirteen adult books published in Hebrew), which is published today by Open Letter Books, is both an emotionally compelling narrative and a novel of ideas. Its characters find different ways of coping with the emotional aftermath of an unreported and unpunished crime, and the novel invites its readers to consider such questions as the nature of evil and the justification of vengeance and retribution." - From my examiner.com article

Nov. 11th, 2014

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Jewish books: The Luminous Heart of Jonah S. by Gina Nahai

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“. . . the novel’s epic sweep, engaging prose, suspenseful plot, sense of humor, and introduction to a fascinating subculture outweigh its flaws.” - from my New York Journal of Books review. For additional remarks also see my examiner article.
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Oct. 17th, 2014

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Israeli books: Assaf Gavron's The Hilltop is set in a West Bank settlement

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The Hilltop is recommended to all readers who enjoy a good story grounded in current events.” -- from my New York Journal of Books review. Also see my examiner article.




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Sep. 12th, 2014

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Jewish books: The Betrayers by David Bezmozgis

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The Betrayers succeeds by combining thought provoking ethical dilemmas with dramatic tension in an engaging prose style and is enthusiastically recommended.” - from my New York Journal of Books review (which includes spoilers). For additional remarks, excerpts, and an exploration of the novel as a roman a clef see my examiner article.

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Sep. 7th, 2014

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Book review: 10:04 by Ben Lerner

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“. . . the pleasure this novel provides is found less in what happens to the characters than in the language Lerner commands to relate that and his various cogitations, as well as in time spent in the company of a first rate mind.” -- from my New York Journal of Books review. For additional remarks and excerpts from the novel also see my examiner article.

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Aug. 5th, 2014

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Jewish books: Stephanie Feldman's The Angel of Losses is an auspicious debut

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"Stephanie Feldman’s debut novel The Angel of Losses, which was published last week by New York-based HarperCollins imprint Ecco Press, is a welcome addition to the Jewish fantasy fiction genre." --examiner.com

In my New York Journal of Books review of the novel I write, “The Angel of Losses is recommended to nerdy (in the best sense of the word) secular Jewish and philo-Semitic readers whose genre interests include the confluence of contemporary and fantasy fiction.”

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Jul. 2nd, 2014

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Book review: In the Illuminated Dark: Selected Poems of Tuvia Ruebner

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My two part review begins with the poet's bio and backstory in New York Journal of Books and continues with a discussion of his poems in examiner:

"Anglophone readers (especially those who also read Hebrew) will find both this handsome book’s bilingual presentation of Ruebner’s selected poems, and his heart wrenching backstory described by translator Rachel Tzvia Back in her informative introduction and endnotes, compelling reading."


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Jun. 7th, 2014

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Book review: A Replacement Life by Boris Fishman

 

 

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Slava Gelman, the protagonist of Boris Fishman's debut novel A Replacement Life, fabricates Holocaust narratives for elderly Russian immigrants' reparations claims applications. In my NYJB review I write, "Slava knows that to make his stories convincing he has to get the details right, and despite the leaps of faith Fishman demands he provides more than enough correct details and well crafted figurative turns of phrase to convince most readers to go along with him—and those who do will be amply rewarded by this multidimensional and handsomely written debut novel." For additional remarks about A Replacement Life see my examiner article.

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