The Jewish Eye
American Jewish Fiction
Reviewed by Harry S. Chou - March 22, 2010
American Jewish Fiction is part of the famed JPS Guide series, and it is a must-have for bibliophiles with an interest in classic Jewish fiction by American authors. In all 125 books that were written in, or translated into English, are critiqued in this book. The books include both novels and short story collections, all of which where written between 1867 and 2007. In addition, all of these books deal with the Jewish-American experience in all its infinite variations. The books are listed according to their date of publication and each entry includes the books title, author, publication date, publisher, and page count - followed by a description of the book and suggestions for further readings. When pertinent, information about the language in which the book was originally written in is included, as well as who translated the book into English.
Other features of this guide include a detailed introduction that places American Jewish fiction within the historical context in which it is written and the various themes that permeate Jewish fiction - from novels about immigrants and politics to Israel and the Holocaust. You'll also find an overview of Jewish Characters that can be found in modern American fiction written by both Jewish and non-Jewish writers, and a brief overview of some of the numerous books about America that were written in Yiddish and Hebrew, but have not yet been translated into English. You'll also find a list of bibliographic resources devoted to American Jewish fiction, a list of some of the many anthologies of American Jewish fiction, and list of the winners of the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction from 1949-2007, as well as a list of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award winners from 1963-2007.
Lambert has done an outstanding job of selecting the books to be included in this guide, and in constructing the book synopsis. While not every work of American Jewish fiction as been included in this guide, Lambert has included those titles that are considered to be classics as well as a number of lesser known titles that had an impact on the American literary scene - both in Jewish and non-Jewish circles.
Some of the works detailed in this guide include:
In short, the JPS Guide to American Jewish Fiction is essential reading for any lover of fiction, and it is a must-have reference guide for all libraries.
- Differences, by Nathan Mayer (published in 1867)
- Tsemakh Atlas (The Yeshiva), by Chaim Grade
- East River, by Sholem Asch
- Jews without Money, by Michel Gold
- Yekl and the Imported Bridegroom and Other Stories, by Abraham Cahan
- Amerika, by Franz Kafka
- My Glorious Brothers, by Howard Fast
- The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
- The Adventures of Augie March, by Saul Bellow
- Marjorie Morningstar, by Herman Wouk
- you'll also find books by writers such as Judy Blume, E. L. Doctorow, John Updike, Philip Roth, Cynthia Ozick, Bernard Malamud, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Leon Uris, Harry Kemelman, Erica Jong, Chaim Potok, Joseph Heller, Nora Ephron, Pearl Abraham, Tova Mirvis, Michael Chabon, Myla Goldberg, and many more...
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- Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic.
An eclectic collection of more than 1,200 Jewish words and terms that you are likely to come across in your daily life. This dictionary includes words derived from a number of languages including Yiddish, Hebrew, and Aramaic. Words and definitions that cover a range of topics including Jewish holidays, life-cycle events, history, culture, and religious observances are included in this reference guide.
- Salome of the Tenements, by Anzia Yezierska.
When the Yiddish newspaper she is working for gives her the assignment of interviewing a millionaire philanthropist, Sonya thinks she has found her way out of the tenement, and sets out to marry her interviewee - with unexpected results. This is a classic work of Jewish-American literature that examines the pull between traditional Jewish culture and the desire of new immigrants to integrate into modern American society.
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