The Schmooze

Author Blog: Recasting a Classic

Francesca Segal’s debut novel “The Innocents” is now available. Her blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit:


I would never have set out to recast a classic, Pulitzer-winning American novel — it seemed the height of chutzpah. But once the idea took up residence in my mind it proved impossible to dislodge. I was living in New York when I read it — far away from the Jewish community in north-west London in which I have lived for most of my life. And, reading a novel set in 1870s haute New York society, I felt such an unexpected, urgent, vivid sense of recognition that I could no longer imagine writing another word until I had written this. The trappings were different but the social concerns, the pressures, the closeness and longevity of friendships, the judgement, the parochialism, and the paramount importance of What Everybody Thinks – it was just the same. Golden Age New York to Golders Green. The central dilemmas remain essential and unresolved.

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Author Blog: Recasting a Classic

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