Words of the Week

“There is a way that a member of a small audience will smile at you, if you’re lucky, that denotes not just understanding and appreciation but a conviction that they get you in a special way, as though your words are just for them. Two or three such people in your audience and you are an unstoppable force. Tonight, the whole room smiles at me that secret smile of special one-to-one knowingness and I smile it back. What this really means is that they recognize in me what I recognize in them—the family likeness, not just of feature, but of manner of discourse, the worrying one’s way to truth, the holding back of final assent, the sense that we’re all in the Great Yeshiva of the Mind together.”

Source: Howard Jacobson, “Russia, My Homeland” (Tablet magazine)

2 thoughts on “Words of the Week

  1. barbara baer says:

    I really like Jacobson’s posting and know how it feels when you make that special contact with a listener who really is caring what you’ve written, and to have a whole room with you…that’s great. I wished I liked better Jacobson’s “Shylock is my Name”.

    1. Erika Dreifus says:

      I’ll confess that I find it much easier to immerse myself in Jacobson’s essays than in his fiction.

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