"There are books that make us feel intensely and others that make us think deeply; one that does both is Gail Hareven’s opalescent and psychologically complex eleventh novel Lies, First Person (in the original Hebrew Hashkarim Ha’aharonim Shel Hagoof which literally translates as The Body’s Last Lies), which is only the second (The Confessions of Noa Weber) of her 13 books for adults to be published in English in Dalya Bilu’s fine translation." - From my New York Journal of Books review
"Lies, First Person, Gail Hareven’s second novel to be translated into English (the eleventh of her thirteen adult books published in Hebrew), which is published today by Open Letter Books, is both an emotionally compelling narrative and a novel of ideas. Its characters find different ways of coping with the emotional aftermath of an unreported and unpunished crime, and the novel invites its readers to consider such questions as the nature of evil and the justification of vengeance and retribution." - From my examiner.com article
“So I finished my tea and dabbled at my dinner, and took a bath, and retired with a book whose secrets were guarded by my exhaustion, for almost immediately it lay open beside me on the duvet, and I woke after a while to turn off the light, and succumbed back into a dream that must have lasted most of the rest of the night, of swirling snow past a speeding train, a sensation of being unable to understand anything close by, of everything immediate flying past in a frenzy too fleet for me to grasp, while the trees and houses guarding the horizon stayed sharp and clear and precise to the eye, so that there were in the world only two things I was certain of: the feel of your hair beneath my palm, and the horizon, as patient and gradual and slow to pass as a thing remembered, even as it melted into distance and stillness and white.” -- Russ Rymer, Paris Twilight
My NYJB review of Paris Twilight Also see my addtional remarks in Examiner.com.
Russ Rymer, author of Paris Twilight
"What the poet perceives is what the reader gets." My New York Journal of Books review of Gradually the World: New and Selected Poems, 1982–2013 by Burt Kimmelman. For links to more of Mr. Kimmelman's poems see my examiner.com article.
“The Golem and the Jinni is recommended to adults who enjoy a good story and have a childlike sense of make-believe.”My review of The Golem and the Jinni | New York Journal of Books. Also see additional remarks in my examiner.com article:
People of all ages enjoy fairytales and the folk tales. Helene Wecker's debut novel The Golem and the Jinni, published today by New York publisher HarperCollins, combines several fiction genres in a work that feels like a fairytale. In my New York Journal of books review of the novel I describe the book as "a fairy tale for grown ups that combines historical fiction and paranormal fantasy in a novel of ideas that is also a tearful love story and a suspenseful page-turner."
Helene Wecker, author of The Golem and the Jinni
J.K Rowling was famously rejected by a mighty 12 publishers before Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone was accepted by Bloomsbury - and even then only at the insistence of the chairman's eight-year-old daughter.
Judy Blume, Gertrude Stein and D.H Lawrence all got a lot of 'no's from publishers before any said yes.
But while some were chucked quietly in the publishers' bin of doom, others recieved an additional slap in the face in the form of some frankly hilarious criticism.
It probably wasn't fun to receive at the time, but now these writers have found their place on bookshelves worldwide, we imagine they quite enjoy reflecting on those publishers who got it embarrassingly wrong...( Read more... )
According to the publishers who rejected them Sylvia Plath had no talent, and Borges was untranslatable. An editor who rejected Nabokov's Lolita wrote, "overwhelmingly nauseating, even to an enlightened Freudian...the whole thing is an unsure cross between hideous reality and improbable fantasy." Replace "unsure" with "brilliant" and subtract the adverb "overwhelmingly" and the adjectives "hideous" and "improbable" and his comment would be not far from the mark and an argument for why it should have been published.
What happens when a New York Jewish pack-rat daughter inherits her New York Jewish pack-rat father's belongings? She embarks on a Jewish genealogical search for her and her dad's long lost relatives. Nancy K. Miller's What They Saved: Pieces of a Jewish Past, published today by University of Nebraska Press, is the story of that search, a story that focuses more on the process of the search than on its results. In my New York Journal of Books review I quote Ms. Miller, “Every new piece of information keeps me on the road to the ever-expanding possibility of the quest, a quest that in the end will still yield only partial knowledge—and will never give me, return to me, those past lives.” Ms. Miller, a retired CUNY Graduate Center English and Comparative Literature professor, is an appealing prose stylist, but because of its focus on the genalogical search process this book will mostly appeal to genealogy buffs in general and Jewish genealogy buffs in particular.
This article first appeared on the late Examiner.com
Now that another secular calendar year is beginning I would like to share my recommendations of Jewish fiction and poetry books published last year. This is not a "best of" list, merely a list of Jewish themed books published in 2010 that I have actually read and reviewed at my other writing gig as a book reviewer at New York Journal of Books.
"No one with 'literary' aspirations will expect to earn a living by publishing books; the glory days when publishers still waffled between patronage and commerce will be much lamented. The lit-lovers who used to become editors and agents will direct MFA programs instead; the book industry will become as rational—that is, as single-mindedly devoted to profit—as every other capitalist industry."
Will? Is it not to a considerable extent already so?
The author marks the boundaries of literary Brooklyn as DUMBO and Prospect Heights, but it is more accurate to draw its boundaries as a triangle that goes from Greenpoint in the northwest to Victorian Flatbush in the east to Red Hook in the southwest.
As a native New Yorker, Brooklynite, alumnus of a CCNY graduate creative writing program, poet/translator and fiction reviewer I am on the periphery of both literary cultures, and much of the article resonates with the ring of truth. However, in an era of government budget cuts I don't see MFA programs continuing to proliferate; indeed, they may prove vulnerable to the budget ax.