“Only Israel could be pressured by the free world to release convicted killers before the ends of their sentences (something that the US, UK and others would not dream of doing), agree to do so at the start rather than the culmination of peace negotiations, and still wind up looking like the bad guy the next morning.”
Source: David Horovitz, “The Worst of Both Worlds,” The Times of Israel, August 14, 2013.
Well, not exactly. But I am going to be away for a few days. Which means that there won’t be a “Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat” post this week. Count on a return to our regularly scheduled blogging next week. Shabbat shalom (jn advance).
Some of my (ever-evolving) ruminations on how to define what makes a book “Jewish” stem from my own writing, especially my short-story collection, Quiet Americans, which is inspired largely by the experiences of my paternal grandparents, German Jews who immigrated to the United States in the late 1930s. But I’ve also considered the subject more broadly (for some examples, please see “further reading” links at the end of this post).
Helping me shape my thoughts along the way: a website I discovered thanks to one of the innumerable “Jewish newsletters” I subscribe to. At The 5 Legged Table, educator Avraham Infeld’s teachings frame a discussion of the question: What is being Jewish all about? The underlying principles impress me as applicable to a related question: What is a Jewish book all about?
Briefly, the 5 Legged Table comprises the following elements: Continue reading ›
These days, motivated in part by space constraints (I live in a New York City apartment and I’ve run out of bookshelves), and in part by financial ones, I think very hard before I buy a book. Generally speaking, I depend on libraries for many of the books that I don’t receive as review copies. And when I do buy a book, I’m often inclined to purchase the Kindle version.
All of this a preface of sorts. Because something unusual happened a few days ago. I began reading Rutu Modan’s latest book, The Property. Translated by Jessica Cohen, this graphic novel depicts a grandmother-granddaughter pair on a journey from Israel to the grandmother’s native Poland, ostensibly to investigate the reclamation of the grandmother’s former home. About two minutes into my reading, I knew that this book was something special. And even though I read the entire book in one setting, I knew that I’d want to read it again. Maybe more than once. Maybe even after it was due back in the library. So I’ve gone ahead and purchased a copy of my own: a print copy.
In short, I loved this book. But instead of writing a more complete review/description/analysis of my own, I’m going to point you to some illuminating items that are already available online. (I’ll also note that, to date, several of the five-star Goodreads reviews that I’ve read echo my own impressions.) I hope that these materials will help convince you to spend some time with The Property, too:
Review in Paste magazine (includes several sample pages/panels)
Profile of Modan in Publishers Weekly
Extensive interview with Modan in The Comics Journal (also includes excerpts from the book)
And a briefer, but still noteworthy, interview with Modan in Maisonneuve.
Finally, as a bonus of sorts, you might want to read through Modan’s account of “a week in culture” for The Paris Review (trans. Sivan Ben-Horin).