The Schmooze

Frédéric Chouraki's Yom Kippur Comedy

France’s Frédéric Chouraki is one of Europe’s most frivolous and insouciant young Jewish novelists. Chouraki’s 2008 “Ginsberg and Me” (“Ginsberg et moi”), from Les Éditions du Seuil, is a fictional jape about Simon Glückmann, an observant young French Jew who meets and seduces the elderly American poet Allen Ginsberg in a Paris gay sauna. Hijinks ensue, with Ginsberg depicted in the unflattering guise, as one reviewer put it, of a “libidinous old goat.”

Chouraki’s equally irreverent new novel, “The Kippur Conflict,” (“La Guerre de Kippour”) has just appeared from Editions le Dilettante, a small literary press which explains that the author, born in 1972, is “keen on women’s tennis, Jewish mysticism, and Anglo-Saxon literature.”

Chouraki’s novel has nothing to do with Israel’s tragic 1973 Yom Kippur War, but alludes instead to the well-known phenomenon of “Kippur Jews” — unobservant people who go to synagogue only once a year, on Yom Kippur. Chouraki’s mordant satire describes the family strife caused when a bisexual young French Jew, Frédéric Bronstein, brings his non-Jewish girlfriend home to meet his parents in the Paris suburbs.

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Frédéric Chouraki's Yom Kippur Comedy

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