When Jon Papernick sits down to write, he imagines a tiny rabbi sitting on his shoulder, guiding his Jewish education, which he explores through craft of writing short stories. The author of the collections “The Ascent of Eli Israel” and most recently “There is No Other,” Papernick was a journalist in Israel after the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin and before he began writing harrowing, often satirical stories about Jewish identity and faith.
He is a father, an on-the-page problem solver and sufferer of celiac disease — an autoimmune intolerance of wheat, which he wrote about recently in the New York Times. Come October, yet another identity will emerge: Papernick: The Book Peddler. To overcome a handicap many authors face — limited availability in major bookstores — he will sell his fiction by homemade pushcart in New York City, in the immigrant tradition. Papernick hopes to connect to new readers by actually placing his books in their hands.
He journeyed from Boston to talk with me.