Arts & Culture


Coming of Age, in Frames

By Paul Buhle

The Quitter By Harvey PekarArt by Dean Haspiel with Lee Loughridge Vertigo, unpaginated, $19.99. * * *Anyone who has seen the 2003 award-winning film “American Splendor” or watched Harvey Pekar’s confrontations with David Letterman late at night back in the 1990s is almost certain to conflate or confuse the real-life Pekar with one orRead More


A View From the Stands

By Saul Austerlitz

Judaism’s Encounter With American Sports Jeffrey S. Gurock Indiana University Press, 248 pages, $29.95. * * *Many a sports-obsessed Jewish kid will remember a Saturday buried somewhere deep in the past spent flipping through a dusty volume of “Great Jews in Sports” or one of its equivalents, whistling every few pages and exclaiming,Read More


Abraham’s Gambit

By Joshua Cohen

Stalemate By Icchokas MerasTranslated by Jonas Zdanys Other Press, 176 pages, $13.95. * * *To stalemate a game of chess is no easy thing: One has to position the king in a square in which, although he is not in check, he can only move into check and no other piece can move, either. The king is safe, but only on his small square. AllRead More


Mourning with Freud

By Dinah M. Mendes

Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk By Matthew von Unwerth Riverhead, 256 pages, $23.95. * * *‘Freud’s Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk” by Matthew von Unwerth is a meditation, a fugue — conceivably a psychoanalytic novella –– that hasRead More


Airing the Family’s (Blood-stained) Laundry

By Boris Fishman

Blood Relation By Eric Konigsberg HarperCollins, 288 pages, $25.95. * * *As a teenager at a boarding school, journalist Eric Konigsberg came across a groundskeeper who once had worked the mob beat as a New York cop. The man asked Eric if he was related to infamous mob hitman Harold Konigsberg. Thanks to his family’s well-meaningRead More


Exploring Latin Music, In and Out of the Ivory Tower

By Alexander Gelfand

Traditional Cuban popular music — the kind of stuff that was big in the 1940s and became big again in the late 1990s, thanks to the Buena Vista Social Club — is designed to get you out of your chair and onto the dance floor. And if you listen carefully, you’ll notice that much of the prodding comes from the piano. The groovy rhythmic figuresRead More


‘Silence, Exile and Cunning’

By Joshua Cohen

Party in the Blitz: The English Years By Elias CanettiTranslated by Michael HoffmanAfterword by Jeremy Adler New Directions Publishing Corporation, 249 pages, $22.95. * * *‘I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can,” the character of Stephen Dedalus argues, in James Joyce’sRead More


Romance for the AARP Set

By Adam Stern

If you can brave Harry Freund’s debut novel, you’re in for a thrill ride that only the raucousness of an aging Jewish social scene can provide. “Love With Noodles: An Amorous Widower’s Tale” (Carroll & Graf) is set on the Manhattan’s dangerous and rocky terrain known as the Jewish Upper East Side. Our navigator, Dan Gelder,Read More


Jacob van Ruisdael Is Not Jewish

By Menachem Wecker

‘Sir, I think you are chasing a will-o’-the-wisp in trying to find a firm connection,” Seymour Slive told me over the phone from his Maine summer home. At 85, Slive is Gleason professor of fine arts emeritus at Harvard University, former director of the Harvard Art Museums, and the Ruisdael scholar — with a collection of books and articlesRead More


The Plot Thickens, With Female Rabbis Stirring the Pot

By E.B. Solomont

The rabbi. In popular culture, he has been everywhere — on the page, of course, but also on the small and big screens. He has been a moral center, a family supporter, a shyster, a pontificator (naturally); he has been an ancillary character and a main one; he has been a villain and a hero. And he always has been a he.Until very recently,Read More


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