The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles–the largest Jewish weekly outside New York City–has named Quiet Americans a “notable book of 2011.” To say that I am honored is an extreme understatement. I am frankly overwhelmed to find my book in the company of the other “notable” works by Gershom Gorenberg, Hirsh Goodman, James Carroll, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Art Spiegelman, Joseph Braude, Michael Levy, and Deborah E. Lipstadt.
In explaining the choice of Quiet Americans, Books Editor Jonathan Kirsch writes:
History, as James Joyce once wrote, is a nightmare from which we struggle to awaken. But literary journalist Erika Dreifus is courageous enough to confront the terrors from deep within that nightmare in her debut work of fiction, “Quiet Americans” (Last Light Studio: $13.95), a deeply affecting collection of short stories that contemplate how the long shadow of the Holocaust falls across the lives of men and women who come alive in her work. She works in a lapidary prose, every word considered and chosen with care, and yet the writing is always clear and compelling. But Dreifus does not confine herself to the kind of character studies and slice-of-life sketches that are the stock-in-trade of so many short-story writers. Rather, she cares deeply about history — her own family history and the larger history that we all inhabit — and that’s what makes her stories both engaging and consequential.
In addition to the notable books article, The Jewish Journal has also announced the winner of the first Jewish Journal Book Prize: Nancy K. Miller’s What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past. Read more about that book–and The Jewish Journal‘s literary coverage, right here.