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From My Bookshelf: The Assistant, by Bernard Malamud

UnknownLast June, I shared a short list of books I hoped to read over the summer. Bernard Malamud’s 1957 novel The Assistant was on that list, because, as I explained “I should have read it long ago.”

Alas, the summer ended without my meeting the goal. But there’s a good postscript: I did manage to read the book this past week.

It’s phenomenal. The edition I’d purchased happens to include an introduction by Jonathan Rosen, and that introduction drew me in from its first two paragraphs: Continue reading ›

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Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • A bit about the latest Nobel Prize winner for literature: Patrick Modiano.
  • And a bit about a project I’m involved with over at Fig Tree Books (I have to tell you–the response has been overwhelming!)
  • Adam Kirsch on new “Holocaust novels” by Howard Jacobson and Martin Amis.
  • A hearty Mazal Tov to the latest winners of the Moment Magazine/Karma Foundation Short Fiction Contest.
  • And another award-winning writer–a young one–gives “a shout-out to Betty Friedan.”
  • Shabbat shalom.

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen


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

  • A gorgeous meditation for the Days of Awe by Richard Chess.
  • Etgar Keret explains why Yom Kippur is his favorite holiday (translation by Sondra Silverston).
  • Irving Kristol’s only published short story, re-published on Mosaic this week, features an post-World War II encounter in France between an American Jewish GI and an Auschwitz survivor.
  • Have you perused the amazing collection of archived summary-reviews of major works of American Jewish fiction over on the Fig Tree Books website?
  • Last, but by no means least: David (D.G.) Myers, whose many areas of expertise included Jewish literature, passed away last Friday. Please take a few moments to read through some tributes to him.
  • Shabbat shalom, and an easy/meaningful fast to all who will be observing the Yom Kippur holiday.

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    From My Bookshelf: On Bittersweet Place, by Ronna Wineberg

    BittersweetCovLast Thursday evening I had the great pleasure of celebrating the publication of On Bittersweet Place, a novel by Ronna Wineberg, at a lovely book party on the West Side of Manhattan.

    I’ve known Ronna for years. I interviewed her when her short-story collection was published. She helped shepherd one of my short stories along the route to publication in Bellevue Literary Review. And one of her cousins is a dear friend of one of my cousins—which makes Ronna and me practically family!

    So I was honored to be asked to contribute a “blurb” for On Bittersweet Place, which relocates the typical Jewish-American immigration story from New York to Chicago. After reading the galley last spring, here’s what I wrote: “In the pages of Ronna Wineberg’s On Bittersweet Place, one finds echoes of Anzia Yezierska and Betty Smith; in the fictional story of Lena Czernitski’s immigrant family in the first quarter of the 20th century the reader recovers a piece of our larger American history. Quite impressive.”

    You’ll surely be hearing more about this lovely novel soon. For starters, you might want to read this new Q&A with Ronna on the wonderful Bloom website. Read through to the end, and you’ll see a link to a book excerpt, too.

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    Pre-Shabbat Jewish Literary Links

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

    Photo Credit: Reut Miryam Cohen

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

  • Coming in 2016: a new book by Jeffrey Goldberg, on “the Middle East through the prism of President Obama’s years in power.”
  • On my more immediate TBR list: Stuart Rojstaczer’s The Mathematician’s Shiva. According to this Jewlicious post, it’s a novel that “mixes Jewish family life, comedy, academia, mystery, greed, chaos shiva, lust and math.”
  • Matthue Roth on Heinrich Heine’s “love song to cholent.”
  • On the Moment blog, Linda Tucker reviews Rabbi David Wolpe’s new book on the biblical David.
  • If you still don’t have enough books on your own TBR list, you’ll find a few more in Sandee Brawarsky’s fall books preview for The Jewish Week. (Coming soon: a similar overview piece by yours truly, elsewhere. Stay tuned!)
  • Shabbat shalom.

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