I am on a train heading into Magdeburg in eastern Germany, an hour or so from Berlin. Sixty-one years ago, my late mother was on a train headed for Magdeburg. Hers didn’t have a dining car or changing electronic displays updating the train’s speed and distance from its next station. She was one of hundreds of internees being transported fromRead More
Shanda: The Making and Breaking of a Self-Loathing Jew By Neal Karlen Touchstone, 224 pages, $23. ———Self-hatred can be fun — for other people, that is.That’s what Neal Karlen learned in college. He could use his profound Jewish self-loathing as a way of attracting mass quantities of shiksas at parties. WhileRead More
Lev Raphael’s latest novel, “The German Money,” is a Book Sense 76 pick.
The Outcast Dove By Sharan Newman Forge, 429 pp, $25.95. —-In mysteries it’s a cliché to introduce a corpse on the first page. In her new book, Sharan Newman seems to drearily fulfill that expectation, offering us a dead body in its first line. JewsRead More
Swagbelly By D.J. Levien Plume, 240 pages, $13. * * *Elliott Grubman, the protagonist in screenwriter D.J. Levien’s new novel, is a man split down the middle, and it’s all there in his oxymoronic name. Look at that prissy “Elliott,” a name — like Howard — that brands many post-Holocaust American Jewish men with theirRead More
The Body of Brooklyn By David Lazar University of Iowa Press, 163 pages, $24.95. * * *If you thought Philip Roth’s Portnoys were emotionally claustrophobic, essayist David Lazar’s real-life family almost has them beat.Not only did his mother seem to know when he was masturbating, as if she had some kind of sexual ESP, but his masturbationRead More