JRB | Fiction

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Introduction

 

Upon Such Sacrifices: King Lear and the Binding of Isaac

How Shakespeare helps us think about the akedah, and vice versa.

 

Before the Big Bang

Cosmologist Lawrence Krauss is quite sure he knows how the universe began. Novelist Alan Lightman takes a wild narrative guess. But where does the Kabbalah stand?

 

Joseph Roth: Grieving for a Lost Empire

Always in flight, one of the world’s permanent transients, Joseph Roth (1894–1939) was a one-man diaspora. A drunk and a fantasist, he was also a marvelous writer whose work was bedizened with metaphor, laced with simile.

 

Cynthia Ozick: Or, Immortality

Ozick is as marvelously demanding, harrumphing, and uncompromising as she has always been.

 

Live Wire

Bellow’s not so innocent knock in The Adventures of Augie March is generally taken as the moment when Jews barged into American literature without apology.

 

The Jewbird

It is in his stories, rather than his novels, that Malamud emerged as a unique writer. A new series brings new exposure to both.

 

The Hunter

James Salter has been justly celebrated as a composer of gorgeous prose, and his new late-life novel All That Is confirms his reputation as a writer’s writer. How much of his artistic vision is predicated on being James Salter rather than James Horowitz?

 

Brave New Golems

As monsters go, golems are pretty boring. Mute, crudely fashioned household servants and protectors, in essence they’re not much different from the brooms in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” story.

 

Coming with a Lampoon

Jacobson is a world master of the art of disturbing comedy and each new work of his advances the genre—his latest one by a giant step.

 

Who Owns Margot?

What if Anne Frank’s sister had survived Bergen-Belsen? Interesting, but . . .

 

Appelfeld in Bloom

Israeli author Aharon Applefeld sifts through memories to understand the traumas of his past.

 

The Rebbe and the Yak

What do you do when your ancestor appears to you in a dream saying that he is trapped inside the body of a Tibetan yak? If you’re the Ustiler Rebbe in Haim Be’er’s new novel, you go to Tibet to find him, of course.

 

Distant Cousins

None of these four novels by American Jewish writers is fully at home in Israel—they’re more like Mars orbiters than rovers.

Suggested Reading

Was Lincoln Jewish?

Was Lincoln Jewish?

Stuart Schoffman

"Father Abraham became a saint for American Jews, a martyred Moses who revered the Bible," writes Stuart Schoffman of the post-Civil War view of President Lincoln. But was he also "bone from our bone and flesh from our flesh"? Henry Vidaver thought so...

Balm in Gilead

Gita Segal Rotenberg

After reading through dozens of entries into our Reader Review Competition, we are pleased to announce that Gital Segal Rotenberg has been chosen as the winner. Her review of Dati Normali appears today. We thank all our readers who participated! 

Tragedy and Comedy in Black and White

Tragedy and Comedy in Black and White

Sarah Rindner

Lately it seems to be the season of haredim on screen. Sarah Rindner's immersion in this very particular oeuvre began with Shtisel, the 2013 runaway hit Israeli TV series, which depicts a haredi family in Jerusalem in all of its complicated, charming dysfunction.

The Home Front

The Home Front

Allan Arkush

Eating very long breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with dozens of aging members of the Greatest Generation was the best part of Arkush's teaching experience.