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On “Holocaust Fiction”

cover19_240x3281ruled46In the new (fall) issue of the Jewish Review of Books, I respond to a piece published in the summer issue.

My response begins:

“As an avid reader of novels and short stories, and as the author of a story collection myself, I am always pleased to see fiction discussed within the JRB’s pages. But in the case of Amy Newman Smith’s “Killer Backdrop” (Summer 2014), my initial pleasure was tempered by an increasing sense of discomfort.

In part, the trouble stemmed from my difficulty understanding the exact focus of Ms. Smith’s opprobrium. Does she object to all “new works of Holocaust fiction” because they are not nonfiction? Fair enough. Some people don’t ascribe any value to Holocaust-related fiction; I am not among them. But are there any examples of Holocaust-related fiction that might meet with Ms. Smith’s approval? Novels by the late ArnoŠt Lustig? Cynthia Ozick’s now-classic “The Shawl”?”

You can find the rest of my response–plus the original article and Amy Newman Smith’s response-to-my-response–on the JRB website.

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

As I mentioned on my other blog, I’m about to take a brief blogging hiatus (don’t worry–I’ll be back next week!). So I’m giving you the weekly Jewish literary links a day early. Shabbat shalom, and see you next week.

  • “We are delighted to announce that the Jewish Plays Project is now accepting Submissions for its 2015 season!”
  • The Whole Megillah interviews Kathy Kacer, author of fiction and nonfiction on World War II and the Holocaust.
  • New this week: Hevria, “a combination of the Hebrew words Hevreh (group of friends) and Bria (creation). We are a group of creators, coming together. By working together, by combining our forces, I believe we will be incredibly powerful. I believe we can make a difference in the way the Jewish world writes. And I believe we can raise the spiritual sparks of creativity.”
  • The YIVO fall events program is online.
  • And a fun Jewish literary quiz from My Jewish Learning.
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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Stunning piece by Rachel Kadish on teaching creative nonfiction in Israel.
  • Terrific work by William Giraldi on “the long journey of Aharon Appelfeld.”
  • The Internet has been abuzz with the news that Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent will be made into a miniseries.
  • ICYMI: The May Jewish Book Carnival posted yesterday. Plenty of goodies there for you.
  • Also: some recent poems of mine (and a poem for/about me, too!).
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • In which Philip Roth rejects (again) the notion that he is an “American-Jewish writer.”
  • B’nai B’rith magazine is looking for a Deputy Editor; at the same time, B’nai B’rith International seeks a Digital Media Strategist. (Both positions are in Washington.)
  • Renee Ghert-Zand reminds us of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s notable “Jewish role” in the Australian clay animation film Mary & Max.
  • “Kaddish for the Last Survivor,” a short story by Michael A. Burstein.
  • An artful piece on “Searching for a Rabbi” by Richard Chess.
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Jewish Literary Links for Shabbat

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Every Friday morning My Machberet presents an assortment of Jewish-interest links, primarily of the literary variety.

  • Mazel tov to the latest winner & honor titles recognized by the ALA Sophie Brody Award committee.
  • The latest issue of The Ilanot Review, themed “Sacred Words,” has gone live.
  • Forward staffer Josh Nathan-Kazis explores his Sephardic roots and history in this longform piece.
  • Ways to help Holocaust survivors who are living in poverty (note the inclusion of The Blue Card, to which I send quarterly donations based on sales of Quiet Americans).
  • And last, but maybe not least: I’ve got a brief essay on the Lilith blog this week titled “A Not-so-Modest Proposal: Add Another Matriarch to the Mix.”
  • Shabbat shalom.

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