The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff

The Bed Moved by Rebecca Schiff

The audacious, savagely funny debut of a writer of razor-sharp wit and surprising tenderness: a collection of stories that gives us a fresh take on adolescence, death, sex; on being Jewish-ish; and on finding one’s way as a young woman in the world. A New Yorker, trying not to be jaded, accompanies a cash-strapped pot grower to a “clothing optional resort” in California. A nerdy high-schooler has her first sexual…

The Book of Esther by Emily Barton

The Book of Esther by Emily Barton

From Tablet Magazine Can Jewish Fairy Tales Have Happy Endings? Emily Barton’s ‘richly imagined’ new novel ‘The Book of Esther’ projects fantasies of Jewish power onto a Tolkien-like land By Adam Kirsch Jewish writers have had an ambivalent relationship with the fantasy genre. It was primarily American Jews who created the comic-book superheroes, like Superman and Batman, who now dominate the screens and the imaginations of the globe. Despite the…

Strolling Through the Lower East Side With ‘All-of-a-Kind Family’

All-of-a-Kind Family

From Tablet Magazine A mother and daughter—both megafans of Sydney Taylor’s timeless kidlit—take a tour of Manhattan’s historic Jewish neighborhood By Marjorie Ingall “I’m totally a Henny,” I told my daughter Josie. “Everyone thinks they’re a Henny,” Josie told me, with the implicit eye-roll only a 14-year-old girl can deliver without actually eye-rolling. “Everyone wants to be the bad girl. But you are so completely a Sarah.” This was super-hurtful,…

A Brief Stop On the Road From Auschwitz by Göran Rosenberg

A Brief Stop On the Road From Auschwitz by Göran Rosenberg

Sarah Death (Translator) This shattering memoir by a journalist about his father’s attempt to survive the aftermath of Auschwitz in a small industrial town in Sweden won the prestigious August Prize On August 2, 1947 a young man gets off a train in a small Swedish town to begin his life anew. Having endured the ghetto of Lodz, the death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the slave camps and transports during the…

As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner

As Close to Us as Breathing by Elizabeth Poliner

In 1948, a small stretch of the Woodmont, Connecticut shoreline, affectionately named “Bagel Beach,” has long been a summer destination for Jewish families. Here sisters Ada, Vivie, and Bec assemble at their beloved family cottage, with children in tow and weekend-only husbands who arrive each Friday in time for the Sabbath meal. During the weekdays, freedom reigns. Ada, the family beauty, relaxes and grows more playful, unimpeded by her rule-driven,…

Songs of a Dead Dreamer and Grimscribe by Thomas Ligotti

Thomas Ligotti’s debut collection, Songs of a Dead Dreamer, and his second, Grimscribe, permanently inscribed a new name in the pantheon of horror fiction. Influenced by the strange terrors of Lovecraft and Poe and by the brutal absurdity of Kafka, Ligotti eschews cheap, gory thrills for his own brand of horror, which shocks at the deepest, existential, levels. Ligotti’s stories take on decaying cities and lurid dreamscapes in a style…

Kafka’s Cats by Gábor T. Szántó

From Tablet Magazine An excerpt from a new Hungarian novel imagines a world in which the Prague master survives tuberculosis, gives up writing, and finally finds some peace By Gábor T. Szántó In Berlin Dora was waiting for Kafka. Despite his sallow complexion and cough, he was in considerably better shape than at their last meeting. His spittle was no longer red and his appetite was back. On his face…

Bream Gives Me Hiccups

From Tablet Magazine Jesse Eisenberg talks about Woody Allen, Obama’s tailor, Jewish humor, and his new collection of funny short stories By Tal Kra-Oz I’m writing in a tradition of, frankly, mostly Jewish writers. You could say that Woody Allen is the most important father of this. And while I don’t think of what I’m writing as particularly Jewish, when you print out the pages, after it’s done, you realize…

Catalogues and Critical Scholarship

From Tablet Magazine: The Fate of Jewish Collections in 19th-Century Germany Tracing the birth of ‘Jewish studies’ as we know it By Ismar Schorsch Archives tend to put people to sleep. They seem about as exciting as footnotes. Yet the frontiers of knowledge can hardly be advanced without them. What we know of the past is always but “a plank from a shipwreck,” to quote the memorable image of Francis…

Reflections on Herman Wouk

From Tablet Magazine: The first novel I ever read was by Herman Wouk. Now, 60 years later, he’s publishing yet another one. By Morton Landowne When I became a senior citizen a few years ago, someone asked what public personalities had spanned my entire life. After giving it some thought, the only two names I could come up with were Queen Elizabeth and Yankee announcer Bob Sheppard (who has since…