Two of the strongest novels published so far this year, Joanna Hershon’s “A Dual Inheritance” and Adelle Waldman’s “The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.,” happen to be written by young, Brooklyn-based Jewish women writing smartly and wittily from the perspectives of men. This might not be a remarkable fact in and of itself: Look for a smart, witty novelist these days, and 50% of the time you’ll wind up seeing a Brooklyn address. And apart from some crossover in themes and signifiers, the books are markedly different in style and subject matter. “A Dual Inheritance” is a wonderfully and classically constructed old school novel spanning 50 years in the lives of two friends who met while they were undergraduates at Harvard. “Nathaniel P.” is a slimmer work but no less deft or ambitious as it delves into the mind of a sad, young literary cad from (where else?) Brooklyn. Nevertheless, the Forward took the opportunity to bring these two authors together in (where else?) Brooklyn. I met with them by the famed Jane’s Carousel on the waterfront to discuss their thoughts on their inspirations and on writing from the perspectives of men (Jewish and otherwise).
— Adam Langer
Adam Langer is the Forward’s senior editor for culture and features. Born and raised in Chicago, he is the author of the novels “Crossing California,” “The Washington Story,” “Ellington Boulevard,” “The Thieves of Manhattan” and “The Salinger Contract” as well as the memoir “My Father’s Bonus March.” His forthcoming novel “Cyclorama” will be published in 2022.
Joanna Hershon and Adelle Waldman Grow in Brooklyn