Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘Jewish lit’

Interviews |

Eager to Hear Voices Ringing Off The Page: An Interview with Joan Leegant

At age 53, Joan Leegant published her first book, the critically heralded story collection, An Hour in Paradise. With her debut novel, Wherever You Go, she has continued to prove her presence as a preeminent Jewish-American writer. Jody Lisberger taught fiction at Harvard with Joan Leegant, and their interview explores questions of structure, identity, listening to your characters and the treatment of ethical issues in fiction.


Interviews |

Mishpocha and Beyond: An Interview with Erika Dreifus

In conversation with Anne Stameshkin, debut author Erika Dreifus shares true stories that inspired her collection, Quiet Americans; wonders when it’s kosher for authors to write characters from backgrounds they don’t share; explores how reviewing books makes us better fiction writers; and recommends favorite novels and collections by 21st-century Jewish authors.


Shop Talk |

Stories We Love: "Body Count"

I adore all of The Pale of Settlement (2007), a collection of linked stories by Margot Singer that won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, and the Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction. I’ve reread the entire book. But the story that I’ve returned to most often—many times—is “Body Count.” Initially published in Prairie Schooner (and therefore available online to those with JSTOR access), “Body Count” presents us with a protagonist who appears across the collection: Susan Stern. In 2002, Susan, an American-born Jew with close family in Israel, is living in New […]


Reviews |

Binocular Vision, by Edith Pearlman

In Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories, Edith Pearlman grabs the reader’s attention and never lets it go. In this review, Andrea Nolan looks at some of Pearlman’s first lines and examines how her stories are united through character, theme, and place.


Essays |

Looking Backward: Third-Generation Fiction Writers and the Holocaust

As the annual observance of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) approaches, Erika Dreifus discusses the literary kinship among works from an emerging cohort of “3G” (third-generation) Jewish writers: Julie Orringer’s The Invisible Bridge, Alison Pick’s Far to Go, and Natasha Solomons’ Mr. Rosenblum Dreams in English.


Interviews |

The Text You Can’t Control: An Interview with Jacob Paul

“We create things that we hope will, someday, become objects of value. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, many writers–Foer, DeLillo, and Roth, to name just a few–all came out with 9/11 novels. I was initially bothered by this. I wanted to say, ‘Fuck you; I was there.’ This passed for a couple reasons. First was the realization that we’re all survivors of one type or another. Second, these texts can never really become authoritative positions on the experiences of a group of people, no matter how well written they are or how well credentialed their creators might be. There’s no uniform experience of being a 9/11 survivor, no uniform experience of being a woman. These are things that can’t be owned by anyone.”


Interviews |

Vampires are People, too: An Interview with Janice Eidus

NPR’s Marion Winik has called Janice Eidus’s latest novel, The Last Jewish Virgin, “Twilight…with a sense of humor, a brain, and a feminist subtext.” At the Algonquin hotel, Eidus talks with Lauren Hall about paying homage to—and reinventing—the vampire myth; judging a book by its cover; and writing longhand in the mountains of San Miguel de Allende.


Reviews |

Sarah/Sara, by Jacob Paul

Jacob Paul’s debut, Sarah/Sara, is not a joyful read, but it is a deeply moving one. The novel unfolds as the journal of Sarah Frankel, an American-born Jew who, shortly after finishing college, moved to Israel, where she took the Hebrew version of her name (“Sara,” pronounced Sah-rah) and became far more ritually observant than she was raised to be. After her visiting parents are killed in a suicide bombing in the café below her Jerusalem apartment, Sara embarks on a six-week, solo kayaking trip through the Arctic. Throughout the beautiful yet dangerous trek, Sarah’s thoughts turn not only to her past—memories—but also to an imagined future, one that challenges her faith.




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