Mandel Vilar Press
Jewish Fiction & Nonfiction Catalogue
MANDEL VILAR PRESS
19 Oxford Court, Simsbury CT06070
501 (c) (3)
Majoritizing minority literatures of the Americas
Dear Colleagues, Friends, Authors, Jewish Writers, Scholars and Librarians
2020 is my forty-first year as a book editor and publisher. In my career I have helped publish over 2,000 books. Many of you know me as an editor and publisher of Jewish fiction and nonfiction. From 1979 to 2019, I have been successively a Senior Editor at SUNY Press, Assistant Director at Indiana University Press, Director of Wayne State University Press, Director of Syracuse University Press, Director of University of Wisconsin Press, Director of University of Alaska Press and Director of Texas Tech University Press. Throughout my career, I launched numerous Jewish book series publishing over 500 Jewish books of fiction and nonfiction. In 2014, I retired from university press publishing and moved to Simsbury, Connecticut. Encouraged by former authors, in 2014 I launched a nonprofit literary trade publishing house, Mandel Vilar Press (www.mvpublishers.org) and became the publishing arm of the nonprofit charity, Americas for Conservation + the Arts, (www.americasforconservation.org).
With Mandel Vilar Press (MVP) I continued my efforts by publishing important Jewish fiction and nonfiction. In 2016 I co-published Blume Lempel’s Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories with another fine literary press, Dryad Press. And, starting in 2019, I am pleased to announce a new MVP Jewish trade book imprint, MomentBooks, an exciting joint publishing venture with Moment Magazine—the first titles in this new imprint appeared in Spring 2019—so the great adventure continues.
MVP launched its new website at www.mvpublishers.org, so please visit and learn about our mission and vision for the future, about book events, our authors biographies, interviews, readers guides, reviews and awards, special sales, and our fundraising efforts to support our nonprofit press.
Below I am pleased to present our 2020 Jewish fiction and nonfiction catalog including our publications from 2015-2019.
Robert Mandel, PhD
Publisher, Mandel Vilar Press
March 15, 2019
Mandel Vilar Press | Robert@mandelvilar.org
19 Oxford Court | Simsbury, CT 06070 | Robert A. Mandel
Forthcoming in Fall 2020
I Am My Mother’s Daughter
Wisdom on Life, Loss, and Love
by Dara Kurtz
Mother, daughter, cancer survivor, Dara Kurtz shares her Crazy Perfect Life
Dara Kurtz kept a Ziploc bag of letters written by her mother who passed away from cancer when Dara was twenty-eight years old. This bag also included letters written by her departed Jewish grandmothers. Fearing the pain and sadness that she finally overcame this Ziplock bag remained buried in her house for decades. When facing life difficulties, Dara longed to talk with her mother and grandmothers to gain their advice—especially, when Dara, like her mother, was diagnosed with cancer at the age of forty-two. Finally, after several life crises Dara opened the bag of letters and re-read them. They brought back beautiful family memories, taught her many life lessons, revealed the incredible love between mothers and daughters and the wisdom passed on from one generation to the next. As a mother, Dara passed down these family traditions to her daughters, who carry on the legacy contained in the Ziploc bag.
Dara’s story will inspire readers to strengthen the bonds between mothers and their daughters, remember family traditions, encourage them to look at their past and let go of their pain and to motivate them to make the most of every day of their lives.
Dara Kurtz, author of two books, "Crush Cancer: Personal Enlightenment from a Cancer Survivor" and "Crush Cancer Workbook,” launched a new career in writing, speaking and podcasting after being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42. Her personal blog, "Crazy Perfect Life," (www.crazyperfectlife.com) reaches over 180,000 followers.
Family Relationships and Self-Help, September 2020/ 6 X 9 / 240 pp / 16 B&W Photos
Trade paper with flaps /$24.95/ ISBN: 9781942134657
Can Robots be Jewish?
Inspirational Rabbis Answer Pressing Questions of Modern Life
By Amy E. Schwartz
Religion / MomentBooks/ September, 2020/ 6 X 9 / 208pp / 16 B&W Photos/ Trade paper with flaps /$24.95 / ISBN: 9781942134671
A smart, hip, and provocative book for anyone interested in the rich
diversity of Jewish thought on contemporary religious questions.
When Moment Magazine arrives every other month, loyal readers turn to its popular long running “Ask the Rabbis” feature. In this recurring column, rabbis of different denominations—Independent, Humanist, Jewish Renewal, Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Sephardic, and Chabad—consider some of the most difficult and provocative questions of the day. Their responses span the range of modern Jewish thought. Sometimes they agree, but not often.
Readers will meet these rabbis, learn their stories, and hear their responses to some of our favorite questions, including: Does Jewish anxiety have a theological basis? Do science and Judaism conflict? Is whistleblowing a Jewish obligation? Are there things that cannot be forgiven? Is Judaism good for women? Is there a Jewish way to parent? Is it kosher to tell a white lie? Should we edit our children’s genes? Can a robot be Jewish? Is democracy Jewish? Does Jewish law forbid racism? Do Jews believe in an afterlife? Should there be an eleventh commandment, and if so, what should it be? Are Jews still expecting a Messiah?
In these Solomon-like deliberations, the rabbis answer these and many more contemporary questions about modernity’s most pressing questions. Their voices are lively and accessible; you don’t need to be a Jewish scholar to follow these arguments.
Amy E. Schwartz, longtime editorial writer and op-ed columnist at The Washington Post, is editor of Moment Magazine’s Ask the Rabbi section. Schwartz, who has worked at Harper’s, The New Republic, and The Wilson Quarterly, is also the president of the multi-denominational Jewish Studies Center in Washington, DC.
Small Bibles for Bad Times: Selected Poems and Prose
By Liliane Atlan
(A Bilingual French-English Edition)
Translated and introduced by Marguerite Feitlowitz
October 2020/ A Mandel Vilar Press and Dryad Press Co-Publication/
French Literature, Translation, Poetry and Prose, The Holocaust/
Trade paper with flaps /$21.00 / 5.5 X 9 / 160pp / 8 B&W Photos/
An important voice whose work focuses on the psychological impact of the Holocaust
Liliane Atlan was a postwar French Jewish writer whose plays, poetry and narratives display innovative literary and oral forms. Her Jewish identity was profoundly affected by her personal and family experiences under the collaborationist Vichy regime during and after the Holocaust.
Today, we are again witnessing widespread anti-Semitism throughout Europe, and most notably in France as well as the United States. Atlan’s first-time bi-lingual poetry and prose collection introduces an acclaimed, respected voice to a new generation of English readers. As a Jewish writer, a Holocaust survivor, a Feminist, a pioneering theater dramatist and an activist in Israeli-Palestinian peace and cultural initiatives, Atlan’s poetry and prose seeks to answer a powerful question: How can we integrate within our conscience, without dying in the attempt, the shattering experience of Auschwitz?
Liliane Atlan (1932-2012), whose work—plays, poetry, and drama—focused on the psychological effects of the Holocaust, won several prestigious international literary prizes, including the Prix Memoire de la Shoah for the ensemble of her work in 1999.
Marguerite Feitlowitz, translator, whose work has focused on the way disaster affects our relationship to language, is the author of A Lexicon of Terror: Argentina and the Legacies of Torture, a 1998 New York Times Notable Book and a finalist the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She is a professor of Literature at Bennington College in Vermont. She lives in Washington D.C.
Growing Up Below Sea Level
A Kibbutz Childhood
By Rachel Biale
April 2020/ Israel /History/ Holocaust/ 6 x 9/256 pp/43 photos/3 maps/
Paper with flaps/ $19.95 / ISBN 9781942134633
Rachel Biale’s fresh and vivid stories of her kibbutz childhood, raised in the biblical landscape of the Jordan River by European-born parents who barely fled the Nazis, are pulsating with love and insight into early kibbutz life. I read these stories with amazement and deep personal recognition. -- Fania Oz-Salzberger, Israeli scholar raised on a kibbutz, co-author with her father, Amos Oz, of Jews and Words
A remarkable, haunting remembrance of worlds which are no more - the youthful world of Rachel Biale’s parents in Holocaust-era Europe, and that of her own childhood within the collectivist kibbutz of the 1950s and 60s
-- Bradley Burston, Haaretz columnist
Bob Dylan, Boris Johnson, Annie Leibovitz, Helen Mirren and Jerry Seinfeld? All volunteered on Israel's unique creation - the kibbutz. This memoir is a poignant mix of secrets and survival, love and loss. -- Donna Rosenthal, journalist, kibbutz volunteer, author of The Israelis: Ordinary People in an Extraordinary Land
Rachel Biale’s lovely and deliberately modest book reveals one girl's story, where communal solidarity consoles the adults—Holocaust refugees—and cultivates her growth within and sometimes against the collective's struggle for its own existence. -- Bernard Avishai, columnist for The New Yorker, author of The Tragedy of Zionism
Rachel Biale’s memoir of growing up on a kibbutz—juxtaposed with an account of her parents’ flight from the Holocaust—tells the quintessential story of Israel in the most intimate terms. She begins her memoir with a description of how her parents got to Israel and wound up on a kibbutz. Born four years after the state of Israel came into being, Rachel’s memoir continues with 24 stories that span her childhood -- from her earliest memories at age three to her departure from Israel to America at age twenty.
While these stories focus on the world of children, they also offer a window into the lives of the adult kibbutz members, including dark shadows of the Holocaust. Her relationship with her parents also animates many of these stories Rachel’s parents lived on the kibbutz all their lives, but soon realized that no community could live up to its utopian ideals on a day-to-day basis.
Rachel Biale was raised on Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin. After her IDF service, she completed her university education in the U.S. She is the author of Women and Jewish Law (1984), several illustrated children’s books, and What Now? 2-Minute Tips for Solving Common Parenting Challenges (2020), based on her clinical social work practice. She is also a calligrapher and illuminator of ketubot, Jewish marriage contracts.
Have I Got a Cartoon for You!
The Moment Magazine Book
of Jewish Cartoons
Selected and Introduced by Bob Mankoff
Foreword by Roz Chast
October 2019/Cartoons & Humor/Jewish Books/ MomentBooks/ 7 x 8/
104 pp/Trade Paper $19.95/ ISBN: 9781942134596
Everyone thinks of Jews as suave, handsome, effortless athletes. But this wonderful book shows they’re funny too. Who knew? — Mike Reiss, writer and producer, The Simpsons
“Cartoons. Jews. Bob Mankoff. Roz Chast. What’s not to love?” — Andy Borowitz, author of The Borowitz Report at The New Yorker
Former Cartoon and Humor Editor for both Esquire & The New Yorker magazines, Bob Mankoff grew up Jewish in Queens, NY, went to the Borscht Belt as a kid where he saw performances by Jerry Lewis, Buddy Hackett, and Rodney Dangerfield, among others. In this collection of Jewish cartoons, this wildly successful cartoonist, speaker and author of How About Never, Is Never Good for You?, collects his favorite Jewish cartoons, and writes an introduction which he shows how his Jewish heritage helped him to become a successful cartoonist, examines the place of cartoons in the vibrant history of Jewish humor, and plumbs Jewish thought, wisdom and shtick for humorous insights.
Mankoff has written: “I always think that it’s strange that the Jews, The People of the Book, eventually became much better known as The People of the Joke. Strange because laughter in the Old Testament is not a good thing: When God laughs, you’re toast. If you say, “Stop me if you’ve heard this one,” he does for good. If there is any influence Jewish culture has on my cartoons about religion, it’s the disputatiousness of the that culture, the questioning everything just for the hell of it and then the questioning of the questioning to be even more annoying. When, I was first dating my wife, who is not Jewish, we once were having what I thought was an ordinary conversation and she said, “Why are you arguing with me?” I replied, “I’m not arguing, I’m Jewish.” I thought that was clever. She didn’t. Some humor scholars claim this stems from the practice in the Talmud of pilpul, which Leo Rosten described as “unproductive hair-splitting that is employed not so much to radiate clarity ... as to display one’s own cleverness...”I go along with that except I like to think that some clarity and cleverness are not mutually exclusive. Anyway, that’s my aim in cartoons like these. Now, am I worried that these jokes will bring His wrath down upon me down with a bolt from the blue. Not really, but every time there’s a thunderstorm, I hide in the cellar.”
Bob Mankoff began submitting cartoons to the New Yorker Magazine in 1974. Three years and over 2,000 cartoons later, he finally made the magazine and eventually became Cartoon Editor publishing over 950 cartoons. His story and day-to-day at the magazine were the focus of the 2015 HBO documentary Very Semi-Serious. In addition to appearances on 60 Minutes and Charlie Rose, Bob was the host of New Yorker web series “The Cartoon Lounge.” In 2014 he published his New York Times bestselling memoir How About Never – Is Never Good For You?: My Life In Cartoons. Most recently, he edited the massive two-volume The New Yorker Encyclopedia of Cartoons: A Semi-serious A-to-Z Archive.
The City of Light
By Theodore Bikel and Aimee Ginsburg Bikel
with Illustrations by Noah Phillips
8 x 6 / 64 pp / Ages 10 to 92 / Hardcover / $16.95 /
ISBN: 9781942134619 / MomentBook Imprint
“Over his long and remarkable career, Theodore Bikel achieved the status of a living treasure.
Thanks to Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, Theo is still here.” Jonathan Kirsch, The Jewish Journal
“Aimee Ginsburg Bikel’s shaping and sharing of her beloved late husband, Theo Bikel’s tale of what he experienced as a little boy during the rise, and then explosion, of hatred that preceded the Holocaust, is a beautiful, painfully powerful and great gift. It is particularly meaningful in this time of mushrooming anti-Semitism, hatred and bigotry of every sort, worldwide. It is a riveting tale, made all the more meaningful by the shocking rise of anti-Semitism, in all forms of bigotry, right her and right now.”—Peter Yarrow, Peter Paul and Mary
“If in the past I have ever called a book beautiful, I realize after reading The City of Lights that I may have been too profligate with my praise. This work for children may be the realization of that often-overused word; it is a very moving story, an excellent way to introduce youngsters to the Holocaust.” The Jerusalem Post
In 2014, at the age of 90, Bikel was invited by Moment Magazine to write a Hanukkah story, and he chose to explore a crucial event that shaped his development as an author, actor and activist. He captured these memories in a poignant story, The City of Light set in Vienna in 1937-1938 during Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria and Kristallnacht, ‘The Night of Broken Glass.’ In this story, a young Jewish boy strolls through Vienna and witnesses acts of anti-Semitism during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. At night he dreams of a superhero, Judah Maccabee, who appears to defend Vienna’s Jews. When he awakes, he knows there will be no Maccabean rescue and he weeps. Years pass, the boy, now an old man, returns to Vienna and sees the Jewish community and the Temple have been restored. He looks for the eternal light in his Temple and can’t find it. Then suddenly it becomes clear to him: ‘The light was there all the time! it was in his own heart.’
In December 2014, The City of Light, appeared in Moment Magazine and was read aloud on NPR’s Hanukkah Lights by hosts Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz. It now appears for the first time as an illustrated book in time for Hanukkah 2019 and can now be read and appreciated by all readers, ages 10 and up in a new and expanded version with a foreword, Postscript. Recipe, glossary, and sheet-music of Theo’s favorite Hanukkah song (with link to sites where you can hear Theo singing it).
Theodore Bikel, Hollywood and Broadways actor, was also known for his roles in My Fair Lady, The Defiant Ones, and was a frequent guest star on many popular television series such as Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Wagon Train, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, Little House on the Prairie, Gunsmoke, Dynasty,and All in the Family. Bikel received many awards in his life including an Academy Award Nomination and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Aimee Ginsburg Bikel is a writer, journalist, public speaker, and community organizer. She served as the senior correspondent in India for Israel’s leading daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, for 17 years. As director of the Theodore Bikel Legacy Project she is active in causes that were close to her and Theo’s heart: social justice, peace and Jewish folk culture.
Noah Phillips is a Brooklyn-based writer, illustrator and social worker. His artwork has appeared in magazines, newspapers and a book of children's stories called The Three Chickens and Five Other Stories.
Elie Wiesel, An Extraordinary Life and Legacy--Writings, Reflections, Photographs
Nadine Epstein, editor
Foreword by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks & Afterword by Ted Koppel
ISBN: 9781942134572/ Paper with Flaps/ $35.00/ 176 pages/ 8 x 11/ 117 Color and B&W photos
This book is the first publication of MomentBooks, a new trade imprint of Mandel Vilar Press—a series of co-publications of Moment Magazine and Mandel Vilar Press.
“Elie Wiesel taught us that we must not forget; that there is no greater sin than that of silence and indifference. In doing so he has not just illuminated the past; he’s illuminated the future.”—Oprah Winfrey
“Elie Wiesel performed the alchemy of converting pain, injustice and horror into love, compassion, and tolerance. We remember him not so much because he so often succeeded but because he never stopped trying.”—Ted Koppel
“Elie Wiesel was the Jewish people’s spokesperson. He looked after our moral landscape and paid attention to what happened to Jews around the world. We needed a person like that.”—Itzhak Perlman
“I believe there is a risk of Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust and other genocides being forgotten. Without a real effort to retain their memory, they may simply disappear from history. Wiesel was the light in the night for the whole world, not just the Jewish one.”—Father Patrick Desbois
Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) is best known as the author of Night, a survivor of Auschwitz and a powerful, enduring voice of the Holocaust. A recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he was a hero of human rights, beloved professor and author of more than 50 books. Among his accomplishments, Wiesel co-founded Moment Magazine with Leonard Fein in 1975 to be a place of conversation for American Jews, for editor-in-chief Nadine Epstein, he became a mentor and friend after she took over the magazine in 2004.
In this striking volume, Epstein shares her memories of Wiesel and brings together 36 reflections from friends, colleagues, and others who knew him—including his son Elisha Wiesel, Michael Berenbaum, Wolf Blitzer, Father Patrick Desbois, Ben Kingsley, Ronald S. Lauder, Bernard-Henri Levy, Kati Marton, Itzhak Perlman, Natan Sharansky, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Oprah Winfrey and Ruth Wisse. The foreword is by world famous British Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the Afterword is by acclaimed broadcaster Ted Koppel.
To celebrate this humanitarian and keep his inspiration alive, Epstein presents readers with a visual history of Wiesel’s life and examines the influence of his seminal book, Night. This chilling story of the Holocaust has already gripped the souls of millions of readers. To reinforce this legacy, Epstein provides lively conversations with teenagers about Night and offers discussion questions.
Nadine Epstein, an award-winning journalist and author, is editor-in-chief and CEO of Moment Magazine.
The Berlin Woman, A Novel
FICTION October 6 x 9 | 208 pp Trade Paper US $16.95 | CAN $23.50 / 9781942134589 eBook available
Fast-paced, written in contagious gonzo style, this new kind of no-holds barred love story makes for binge-worthy compulsive reading.
“A man was asked if he was a survivor of the Holocaust. His answer: there were no survivors. This, for me, is one of the themes of this amazing book, along with the question: is love possible in a world where people commit horrendous acts of evil? The Berlin Woman is exquisitely written, sometimes funny, mostly terrible, always human. The narrator, Nathan Falk, is so damaged that he is literally trapped inside his psyche like a patient in a padded cell. In his delusional existence, he attributes the pathology of the perpetrators of the Holocaust to all human endeavor. It would be easier to deny the truth of this, if it weren't happening again.”—Goodreads.com
“He’s not neat, he’s not careful… But there’s more passion here than you see in twenty other books combined.”—Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
“Great writing like this comes along once every fifty years.” Barney Rosset, Publisher of Grove Press
“Kaufman’s unique voice, by turns manic and wretched, is always intoxicated with
language… combines Kerouac’s wide-eyed discovery…and Henry Miller’s resolve to throw open the doors of private lives.” James Sullivan, San Francisco Chronicle
Alan Kaufman’s latest novel, The Berlin Woman is a haunting love story about two Second Generation Holocaust writers who meet at a literary conference in the Swiss Alps and fall into a mad kind of addictive love affair. A Ukrainian now living in Berlin, Lena is a married, chronically unfaithful, and devoted only to gratifying her ambitions and hard-driving libido. Nathan is a footloose womanizing American author, unable to produce the big novel for which he’s been contracted. They chase each other selfishly, sexually and even digitally across Europe and America, turning their affair into a high-stakes reckless game of jealousy, rivalling ambitions, gender conflict, political combat and artistic outrage.
But beneath it all, their hearts are breaking, dark secrets haunt their pasts, while overshadowing their love is a fast-changing, ruthless world in which Anti-Semitism is burgeoning, The Holocaust is denied or forgotten and a new kind of totalitarianism -- spearheaded by a new breed of “strongmen” leaders -- threatens to sweep Lena, Nathan, and all of humanity, to the very brink of annihilation.
Alan Kaufman, poet, editor, writer, and painter was born and raised in the Bronx, earning a BA at City College of New York. In 1977 he moved to Israel, where he served in the Israel Defense Forces. After studying fiction in the MFA program at Columbia University, he relocated to San Francisco, where he helped build the community of performance poets at Cafe Babar and participated in the 1993 San Francisco Poets Strike. In addition to his involvement with the Spoken Word community, Kaufman has also been a central figure in the Jewish countercultural movement, co-editing It's the Jews! A Celebration of New Jewish Visions (1995, with Danny Shot) and editing the magazine Davka: Jewish Cultural Revolution. He is the author of the poetry collection Who Are We? (1998), the novel Matches (2005) and the memoirs Jew Boy (2000) and Drunken Angel (2013). His reviews appear widely in journals such as the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, and the Partisan Review. Kaufman is also the editor of The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry (1999, co-edited with S.A. Griffin) and The Outlaw Bible of American Literature (2004, co-edited with Barney Rosset and Neil Ortenberg.
My Real Name is Hanna
Tara Lynn Masih
ISBN: 9781942134510/ Paper with Flaps/ $16.95/ 208 pages/ 5.5 x 9
Finalist National Jewish Book Award—Young Adult Fiction 2019; Florida Book Awards 2018, Winner of the Julia Ward Howe Award for Young Readers, Gold Award for Best Young Adult Fiction Foreword Reviews Indie Book Awards 2018, Gold Winner for: Historical Adult Fiction and finalist in Young Adult Fiction, Winner of a 2018 Skipping Stones Honor Award, Paperback Paris’ Must-Read Fall 2018, On Goodreads’ Ultimate Fall Reading List for YA Book Fans and
a Best Book of the Month
“A fluid writer, Masih effortlessly integrates the nuances of both Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, even as she creates a world in which small acts of kindness become feats of courage.” Gloria Goldreich, Hadassah Magazine
“One of the most inspirational stories you will read ….it is a story of defiance and resilience, and about carving out a path not only for coping with evil, but managing, against all odds, to outlast it.”—Rhapsody in Books Weblog, January 21, 2019
“A brilliantly rendered memorial to survivors of the Holocaust. VERDICT A strong choice for Young Adult shelves." School Library Journal
“A carefully researched, often moving narrative of one family’s struggle for survival.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Poetic and vivid. To strong effect, the loveliness of Hanna's thoughts counters the ever-present dangers of what she faces” –Foreword Reviews, Editor’s Pick
“With the continuing surfeit of WWII fiction, it is refreshing to find an original voice that delivers such a harrowing, yet inspiring message . . . [a] highly readable, affecting novel.” –Historical Novels Review
“Masih creates in Hanna creates a strong and inspiring young female protagonist. . . It’s a haunting and hopeful work that deserves a broad audience. And at this particularly divisive time when fear and intolerance is constantly crowding the headlines, this book offers seeds of compassion to young and experienced readers alike.--Small Press Book Review
“Hanna’s story . . . uncovers an astonishing, rich vein of hope in a world gone utterly dark. Both timeless and timely.” –Elizabeth Wein, New York Times bestselling author of Code Name Verity
“. . . a worthy addition to the canon of Holocaust literature for young readers.” –Helen Maryles Shankman, author, They Were Like Family to Me, 2016 Story Prize finalist
“A powerful, revelatory leap of imagination, taking readers on a journey with 14year-old Hanna from the slowly enveloping horror of the Holocaust, to the literal and spiritual depths of being buried alive. . .. An unforgettable odyssey.” Greg Dawson, author of Hiding in the Spotlight
Tara Lynn Masih, author of the acclaimed short story collection Where the Dog Star Never Glows, and editor of two award-winning anthologies, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction & The Chalk Circle: Intercultural Prizewinning Essays, is the founder of The Best Small Fictions series. She received a finalist grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council along with multiple awards and Pushcart Prize nominations for her fiction. My Real Name Is Hanna is her first novel. She now lives in St. Augustine, Florida.
ZION’S FICTION: A Treasury of Israeli Speculative Literature
Sheldon Teitelbaum and Emanuel Lottem, editors
ISBN: 9781942134527/ Paper with Flaps/ $24.95/ 320 pages/ 6 x 9
Inspired by two seminal works of wonder, the Hebrew Bible and Zionist ideologue, Theodor Herzl’s utopian novel, Altneuland (Old-New Land), Israel is the quintessential Sci-Fi Nation. This is the first English-language anthology of Israeli fantasy and science fiction providing a portal into the speculative literature from the ultimate ImagiNation.
“This splendid new anthology will open a window on contemporary Israeli fantasy and science fiction — a stream of powerful work that we need to know more about.”– Robert Silverberg, multiple winner of Hugo and Nebula Awards, Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, and a SF Grand Master.
“Showcases an impressive array of 16 speculative stories …. The high quality of work makes this anthology enjoyable and accessible for any fan of speculative fiction.”—Publishers Weekly
“An excellent collection of speculative fiction”—World Literature Today
‘The first anthology of speculative fiction in translation from Israel; bringing together the best contemporary SF from Hebrew, Russian, and English, Zion’s Fiction will introduce American readers to the rich but little-known SF tradition that has flourished in this tiny country in the Middle East.”—Rachel Cordasco, Literary Hub, 7/20/18
“This first English-language collection of Israeli speculative fiction fills a hole in the literature of international sf… This notable anthology is appropriate for all sf fans and a valuable resource for any library.” Library Journal
“A must have for hardcore science fiction fans…. This is a compilation of good writing, pure and simple…. Readers should be able to find…many stories they’ll want to reread over and over. …. this will open a gateway to some of the worlds most talented authors they may not have otherwise been exposed to, but more importantly, it will as entertain your imagination.” Ricky L. Brown, Amazing Stories Magazine
“Israeli fantasy and SF are as lively and rewarding as any body of SF, and just as diverse – both in terms of the topics and themes and in terms of modes of writing…. [The Editors] have done an admirable job of balancing these various voices and traditions, recognizing both mainstream writers who occasionally venture into the fantastic and writers clearly aware of the genre they’re working in. Locus Magazine
“Zion’s Fiction will supply a distinctive bright line to the spectrum of futuristic fiction, which stands in sore need of broadening, in the cause of promoting cross-cultural understanding as well as showcasing exciting new talent.”– Brian Stableford, author,70 novels and renown SF historian
“Zion’s Fiction explores the unlimited dreams of a people who have learned to stand on shifting ground. To face a future filled with danger and hope, forging into territory that can only be surveyed with the lamp of imagination on our brows.”– David Brin, Hugo and Nebula award-author
“When my collection Wandering Stars: An Anthology of Jewish Fantasy and Science Fiction was published in 1974, [It] became a classic. And now…we have the first ever anthology in the entire universe of Israeli fantasy and science fiction: Zion’s Fiction…Go forth and read…and may you find Zion’s Fiction unexpected, delightful, and delirious!”–Jack Dann, author and editor of over 75 books including The Memory Cathedral and The Silent
The Book of Norman, A Novel
ISBN: 9781942134312/Paper with Flaps / $19.95/344 Pages/6 x 9
Set in LA during the 1967 anti–Vietnam War protests, two brothers compete for their dead father’s soul in a comedic tale of sibling rivalry, angelic messengers, and the serious business of who runs the afterlife.
"An exciting read, with insights into rarely conjoined subjects and a rare— exceedingly rare- glimpse into an intriguing corner of the American mélange: Mormon and Jewish areas of collision, crisis and the prospect for cooperation."—Monroe Price, Huffington Post,
“I can’t think of many novels that, while not taking themselves too seriously, manage to be intelligent and sympathetic to not one but two oft-misunderstood American religions. That is, there may be books that get Judaism right, or books, though I doubt it, that get Mormons right, but to get them, bothright? Quite a feat.” Mark Oppenheimer, religion columnist and author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door: American Religion in the Age of Counterculture
“With wit and verve, Allan Appel has crafted a delightful comic novel. Best of all is its irresistible narrator-protagonist, uncertainly poised between belief and unbelief, family loyalty and rebelliousness. Underneath the clever plot twists is a genuine quest for wisdom and a warmth and tenderness rare in today's fiction.”—Phillip Lopate, author of A Mother’s Tale, The Art of the Personal Essay, To Show and Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction
"As fast-paced, audacious, and irreverent as a pickup basketball game played for human souls, The Book of Norman is a joyful romp through the minefield of American religious difference."—Peter Manseau, author of Songs for the Butcher's Daughter
The Book of Norman probes with humor and seriousness Mormon-Jewish relationships and traditions regarding the treatment of the dead. It is 1967. Draft cards are being burned, and two Earth Angels in the form of fabulous, spiritual creatures with perfect tans have come to work at the camp where Norman and Jon Gould are employed as reluctant counselors. After dropping out of a Jewish seminary in New York, all Norman wants to do is catch up on sex, love, and rock ’n’ roll, while consuming as many non-kosher cheeseburgers as he can. Yet when his doper brother, Jon, gets a buzz cut, sells his stash, and becomes a Mormon-in-training, the battle between them is engaged. It gets serious when Jon insists on baptizing their dead father, a Mormon practice that Jews--even one cheeseburger-addled rabbinical school dropout--deplore as a violation of Jewish teachings on the afterlife. As Jon becomes an expert on the vast architecture of Mormon heavenly realms where their dad’s soul could be waiting for him, Norman grows lost and confused, then outraged. Just when he is about to give up the soul battle, the Jewish angels assert themselves. A religious tug-of-war ensues, as Norman tries to pull his brother back to Judaism while Jon tries to prove to Norman that Mormonism is the way. The conflict culminates in a monumental hilarious game of basketball, pitting Norman and the angels against a Mormon team of Western Oaks (Wes, the Elder) and his compatriots. With the angels’ help, Norman becomes a reluctant, yet dauntless defender of the faith.
Allan Appel, born in Chicago and raised in Los Angeles, is a prize-winning novelist and playwright whose books include Club Revelation; High Holiday Sutra, winner of a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award; and The Rabbi of Casino Boulevard, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. His most recent novel, The Hebrew Tutor of Bel Air (Coffee House Press) 2010) is being optioned for television. The winner of two fellowships in fiction from the Connecticut State Office of Arts and Tourism, Appel lives in New Haven, where for the last decade he has been a staff writer for the online New Haven Independent.
13 Stradomska Street
A Memoir of Exile and Return
ISBN: 978-1-942134-30-5 Paperback with flaps/ 216 pp/ 16pp photo insert/ $16.95
There can be no closure for survivors of the Holocaust--no justice for victims or perpetrators, no compensation, and no forgiveness!
“I was deeply stirred and instructed by 13 Stradomska Street…. Andrew Potok's book is more than a fine memoir. It's also a profound meditation on human evils, on the Poland in the heart, on the persistence of the unforgivable, and on the intelligent human labor to live rightly, nevertheless. I cannot recommend it too highly.”—Todd Gitlin, Columbia University, author of 16 books, including The Twilight of Common Dreams: Why America Is Wracked by Culture Wars; The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage;
“A terrific book! I could not put it down. The book turns back and forth between the author’s childhood memories and his blind journey back to Poland, weaving between the personal and the political. Potok draws the reader into the story with a deft evocation of childhood smells and Jewish cooking in Poland; the moving imagined conversations with his dead grandparents; the difficult, complex analysis of his father's almost disastrous actions at the Lithuanian border; and his profound and deeply layered account of hatreds he encounters, both before and after the War.”—Roger Porter, author of The Voice Within: Reading and Writing Autobiography and Bureau of Missing Persons: Writing the Secret Lives of Fathers.
“This is a remarkable and memorable book in which horror is leavened by humor, and betrayal and venality by the riches of discoveries that come with time and always, with a thoughtful, probing of the ways the past both imprisons us and sets us free. Potok is blind but he makes us see, as never before, not only the pre-World War Two landscape from which he and his family fled, but of how and why and at what price, despite all, they survived.”—Jay Neugeboren, author of The Stolen Jew, 1940, and Imagining Robert
“A civilized man in an uncivilized world, painter Andrew Potok examines the long reach of both his family's 1939 escape from Poland and his own encroaching blindness in this powerful and elegant memoir.”—Elinor Langer, a member of The Nation editorial board and author of A Hundred Little Hitlers.
When Andrew Potok was eight, he fled with his family from Warsaw, leaving home and business to escape the invading Nazis. The family made it to America, but Andrew’s memories of violence, Jew hatred, and betrayal--including that of his father--erupted into nightmares and eventually formed the backdrop of his rich, though at times turbulent, life as an artist and writer.
Late in Andrew's life, a Polish lawyer offers to help him reclaim property in Krakow that was wrongfully inherited by a relative, he and his wife revisit Poland, experience virulent anti-Semitism which awakens Andrew’s long-dormant memories and provokes deep reflections on the nature of evil. The ongoing lawsuit becomes emblematic of the book’s central theme: There can be no closure for survivors of the Holocaust--no justice for victims or perpetrators, no compensation, and no forgiveness. Andrew Potok, a successful visual artist until he went blind in his forties, has authored several important books: Ordinary Daylight, Portrait of An Artist Going Blind, about his loss of eyesight and its impact on work, identity, and personal relationships; My Life with Goya, a novel about a young Polish Jew’s new life in America following World War II; and A Matter of Dignity: Changing the World of the Disabled, portraits of therapists and activists who worked to more fully integrate disabled persons into mainstream American life. He lives in Vermont.
Isra Isle, A Novel
Translated from Hebrew by Jessica Cohen
ISBN: 978-1-942134-19-0 / Paperback with Flaps/ 240 pp/ list price: $16.95
Publishers Weekly Fall 2016 Announcements for SF & Fantasy, top 10 list of recommended books! One of the most original voices in Israeli literature!
“Explores an intriguing what-ifscenario based on historical fact. In 1825, Jewish-American Mordecai Manuel Noah purchased Grand Island, near Niagara Falls, from Native Americans, planning to create a place of refuge for Jews. Semel’s novel asks the question, what if this plan had worked?... In this changed world, Israel never existed, Native American and Jewish customs have been merged, and the American Jewish state affects many issues in the world…. Semel explores issues of global importance in this singular, thought-provoking novel.”—Publishers Weekly
[A] spellbinding alternate-history….”—Rachel Cordasco, Speculative Fiction in Translation
“Isra-Isle …is another genre-bending triumph, and a sophisticated contribution to the vibrant literary tradition of Jewish alternative histories…speculating on what might have happened had Jews settled in alternative Jewish homelands outside of the Middle East…. Semel’s Isra-Isleposes urgent questions about the meaning of collective memory, peoplehood, and heritage…. Isra-Isle—with Jessica Cohen’s sparkling translation, delivers all the wit, lyrical power, and tender warmth of the Hebrew original.” –Ranen Omer-Sherman, Jewish Book Council
“It’s rare to read a book as brave and brilliant Israeli author Nava Semel’s Isra Isle, a book that defies classification. Is it a detective novel, á la Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union? Is it a historical novel, rooted in the real life of Mordecai Manuel Noah, an American journalist and visionary, who in 1825 bought Grand Island, a piece of land downriver from Niagara Falls, with the hope of creating a Jewish homeland that never came to be? Or is it an alt-universe, science fiction novel where the reader gets to find out what might have happened if Noah’s vision had succeeded? The answer is that this extraordinary and extraordinarily strange book is all three. Semel’s prose dazzles, and Jessica Cohen’s superb translation… delivers a daring, provocative, and entertaining novel.” -NecessaryFiction.com by Peter Grandbois
“In a daring and brilliant book, Nava Semel turns the Zionist narrative upside-down and contemplates whether it would have been possible to change the history of the Jewish people. She creates a world in which a prosperous Jewish state under American patronage arises at Grand Island, near the Niagara Falls, in the wake of the vision of Mordecai Manuel Noah. This is a fascinating book that connects Jews, Indians and Afro-Americans, all with a persecuted past and searching for a homeland, and asks the question, “What would have happened if ?” —Abraham B. Yehoshua, Mr. Mani
Nava Semel, born in Israel in 1954, was the author of 16 books, including Becoming Gershona, winner of the 1990 National Jewish Book Award; Flying Lessons, published in 1995 and chosen as one of the best young adult novels in Germany; and her acclaimed novel, And the Rat Laughed, published in Hebrew in 2001, and in English in 2008. Nava Semel died suddenly in December 2017 amid the success of Isra Isle.
Jessica Cohen has translated some of Israel’s finest writers, including David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Ronit Matalon, and Tom Segev, as well as with screenwriters such as Ari Folman and Ron Leshem.
Oedipus in Brooklyn and Other Stories
Translated from Yiddish by Ellen Cassedy and Yermiyahu Ahron Taub
Co-published by Mandel Vilar Press and Dryad Press
ISBN: 978-1-942134-21-3/ Paperback with Flaps/ 240 Pages/ $16.95
Winner of the Modern Language Association’s Fenia and Yaakov Leviant Memorial Prize in Yiddish Studies (2018)
2018 Selection, Great Jewish Books Book Club of the Yiddish Book Center
Book Riot’s 100 Must-Read Books about Women and Religion
“A splendid surprise and a significant revivification of a brilliantly robust Yiddish-American writer.” —Cynthia Ozick
“With shrewdness, wit, and lyricism, Lempel gives voice to the women, the aging, the ill, and others who, from the margins of modern society, have had trouble making themselves heard.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Stunning...a brilliant, talented writer with one foot in the prewar world in Europe and the other in postwar America....Highly recommended for all collections of Jewish literature."—Assn of Jewish Libraries
“Richly evocative, filled with pleasure and pain, and powerfully human and humane.”—The Forward
"These are stories that deserve a cherished place in the canon of Jewish literature.”—Foreword Reviews
“Blume Lempel left a remarkable legacy that this beautifully translated volume finally makes accessible to a wider audience.”—Anita Norich, Writing in Tongues: Translating Yiddish in the 20th Century
Blume Lempel (1907–1999) was born in Khorostkiv (now Ukraine). She immigrated to Paris in 1929 and fled to New York on the eve of World War II. She wrote in Yiddish into the 1990s. Her prize-winning fiction is remarkable for its psychological acuity, its unflinching examination of erotic themes and gender relations, and its technical virtuosity. Mirroring the dislocation of mostly women protagonists, her stories move between present and past, Old World and New, dream and reality. This book is the first English language collection and translation of Lempel’s stories and is based on a manuscript that won the 2012 National Yiddish Book Center Translation Prize.
Ellen Cassedy, co-translator, is also the translator of On The Landing: The Stories of Yenta Mash, and the author of We Are Here, which explored the world of the Lithuanian Holocaust which won the Grub Street National Book Prize for Nonfiction. She is a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post, Hadassah, The Jewish Forward,. She lives in Takoma, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub, co-translator, is the author of four volumes of poetry, Prayers of a Heretic/Tfiles fun an apikoyres (2013), Uncle Feygele (2011),What Stillness Illuminated/Vos shtilkayt hot baloykhtn (2008), and The Insatiable Psalm (2005). Taub has been nominated twice for a Best of the Net Award and four times for a Pushcart Prize. He lives in Washington, D.C.
Questioning Return, A Novel
ISBN: 978194213437/ Paperback with Flaps/ 372 Pages/ list price $19.95
Excerpted in Tablet Magazine http://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/217749/whats-not-there-soul-searching-in-israel
"The year in Jerusalem you never had!... A sensitive, nuanced, and believable journey to a place, both physical and spiritual, that feels utterly real." —Dara Horn, author of A Guide for the Perplexed, A Novel, The World to Come, All Other Nights, and In the Image, A Novel,
"The brainy, conflicted heroine of Beth Kissileff's heart-stirring debut novel…goes to Israel to interview baalei teshuvah, Jews who have come home to a tradition once lost to them. The process launches her on an intellectual, spiritual, and romantic adventure that will change your understanding of what it means to truly belong. An eloquent and absorbing achievement."—Steve Stern, author of The Pinch, A Novel, Lazar Malkin Enters Heaven
“The story of a young woman's attempt to understand the meaning of 'return' becomes a tale of complex, memorable, and transformative beginnings. A novel as rich in the questions it probes as it is in the characters it renders." —Jay Neugeboren, author of Max Baer and The Star of David, Imagining Robert, and Stolen Rabbi
“Sex, death, Torah, more sex. This book’s got everything and then some!”—Gary Shteyngart, Super-Sad True Love Story
No other novel so vividly portrays the religious life of young Americans seeking a life of traditional Jewish observance and Torah study in contemporary Jerusalem. Sabbaths, holidays, and daily rituals spring to life through a coming-of-age story of a young woman’s struggle to combine her academic aspirations with a quest for spiritual fulfillment.”—Jeffrey L. Rubenstein, Skirball Professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, New York University, Stories of the Babylonian Talmud and Rabbinic Stories.
An ambitious graduate student, Wendy spends a year in Jerusalem questioning the lives of American Jews who “return” both to Israel itself and to traditional religious practices. Have they changed themselves at all? Are they sincere? Or happier? Wendy is certain that she’s on the path to academic glory. But from the moment her plane takes off Wendy is confronted with unanswerable questions of faith and identity. As she becomes immersed in the rhythm of Israeli life, her sense of distance from it fades. Her ability to be a neutral outside observer terminates abruptly when a student commits a horrible act immediately after his interview with her. Wendy is not sure how or if she is implicated in his action, but in her search for understanding, she is led to knowledge and love in unforeseen places. Though Wendy Goldberg planned to ask questions of others, she finds the ones that truly matter are those she asks of herself.
Beth Kissileff, a fiction writer and journalist spent two years studying in Jerusalem and continues to visit Israel regularly. Her writing appears regularly in publications including the New York Times, The Forward, Tablet, Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. She has received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo and the National Endowment for the Humanities and taught at Carleton College, the University of Minnesota, Smith College and Mount Holyoke College. She is also the editor of an anthology in which academics write on the Bible, Reading Genesis: Beginnings. She lives in Pittsburgh and is at work on a volume of short stories and a second novel.
Max Baer and The Star of David, A Novel
ISBN: 978-1-942134-17-6 / Paperback with Flaps / 208 Pages/ $19.95
“Neugeboren has never been better than in this lush, joyful novel—as erotic and mysterious as The Song of Songs, and as clear as a heavyweight champion's punch in the gut. I loved it.”—Robert Lipsyte, author of An Accidental Sportswriter
“A strange and strangely beautiful tale that conjures up a golden era of boxing in the way A. J. Liebling did in The Sweet Science. I was enchanted from start to finish."—Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure: A Memoir
“An irresistible tribute to the sweet science, and a thrillingly jaunty evocation of an almost forgotten era.”—Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait Inside My Head
“A powerful and starkly gritty literary page-turner--this novel is a total knockout.”—Binnie Kirschenbaum, Hester Among the Ruins
“The book will bewitch readers with its own powerful song and haunting love story, filled with regret and a deep rage against America's racial sins, past and present.”—Jerome Charyn, author of I Am Abraham
“For any reader who cares about good writing and imagination, lover of boxing or not, Max Baer and the Star of David is required reading.”—Beth Kissileff, The Jerusalem Post
“At the heart of this novel are two mysterious and memorable fictional characters, Max Baer's constant companions, Horace and Joleen Littlejohn, who…become best friends and sometime lovers to Max in this dazzling story about the world of boxing, and about Max's life in and out of the ring The result is a strange and affecting interracial love story like no other.”—Goodreads.com
“[This] is a novel first, a boxing novel second. And that’s how it should be for a novel whose title character may have been more famous for his out-of-ring escapades than his pugilistic career. The real fighters in this novel are the people that surround Max, Horace and Joleen…. Neugeboren takes old fight-film footage, removes the graininess, introduces color, helps us hear and see the men and women behind the man, as well as the man himself, Max Baer, whose life was as colorful as the deep blue star emblazoned on his trunks.”—Adam Berlin, Boxing.com
Jay Neugeboren is the author of 22 books, including five prize-winning novels (e.g., The Stolen Jew, 1940), two prize-winning books of nonfiction (Imagining Robert, Transforming Madness), and four collections of award-winning stories. His stories and essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Scholar, The New York Times, Ploughshares, Black Clock, and Hadassah, and have been reprinted in more than 50 anthologies, including Best American Short Storiesand The O. Henry Prize Stories. A professor and writer-in-residence for many years at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Neugeboren has taught at other universities, including Stanford, Indiana, S.U.N.Y. at Old Westbury, and Freiburg. He now lives and writes in New York City, where he is on the faculty of the Writing Program of the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University.
Breaking Ground: How Jackie Robinson Changed Brooklyn
ISBN: 9781942134077 / Paperback with Flaps /140 Pages / list price $15.95
Coming-Of-Age Memoir in the Shadow of Ebbets Field and Jackie Robinson
“Lelchuk grew up in Brooklyn, the son of immigrants in the post-WWII era, and had a firsthand view of Jackie Robinson’s rise as a baseball player, a public icon, and a voice for equality. [He] uses both memoirist and historian eyes to examine a baseball great…. Many are familiar with Robinson’s baseball career and cultural impact, but Lelchuk gives insight into the hope Robinson brought specifically to Brooklyn, and particularly to its immigrant families…. While this book will catch the eye of sports fans and Robinson fans, its reach is far greater. It shows how one man changed the racial climate of a troubled borough during a trying era. But it also shows Robinson’s effect on one household and one young boy. Lelchuk’s great skill as a writer allows the book to meet the challenge of speaking on a personal and political level.”—Foreword Reviews
“Lelchuk is channeling ‘the voice of a boy partly by design, and partly by the power of that boy’s feelings still beating strongly in the adult.’. . . A coming-of-age narrative in which baseball and Robinson play a singular role and a symbol for a young man struggling to define his own Jewish-American identity in working-class Brooklyn. This … memoir transports the reader into the mind and heart of a young Alan Lelchuk, who finds his definition of American heroism in the tenacious Jackie Robinson.” —Sara L. Trembanis, Journal of Sports History
“Showcases how Robinson's dignity, humanity, and athletic skill eventually made a difference throughout the nation, not just in one borough.”—Jorge Iber, author of More Than Just Peloteros: Sport and U.S. Latino Communities
In this unique memoir, we experience the joys of the game of baseball, its native nuances and its quintessential American qualities. We understand how Jackie played the game with a rare excellence and excitement that challenged the way the game had been played. We also experience the climate of racial prejudice and the Cold War that pervaded the post WWII era. We witness the responses from the kids of Brooklyn who took Jackie to their hearts and minds and made him their own personal folk hero. We see how the nation began to look at the borough of Brooklyn in a different light, one that highlighted a pioneering spirit and suggested a path forward in race relations. Finally, we can sense the joys of childhood and youth that tied together a young Brooklyn fan and the greatest Dodger player. It is a hymn to baseball and its legendary hero.
Alan Lelchuk was born and raised in Brooklyn, attended public schools and Brooklyn College for his B.A. (1960) in World Literature and Stanford University for his graduate degrees in English (M.A. 1963, Ph.D. 1965). He taught at Brandeis between 1966 and 1981. He has been a Visiting Writer at Amherst College, CCNY, University of Naples, The Free University in Berlin, and Moscow State University. In 2001-2002 he was the Salgo Professor of American literature and writing at ELTE in Budapest. A recipient of both Guggenheim and Fulbright Awards for fiction, He has been on the Dartmouth College faculty since 1985.
Searching for Wallenberg, A Novel
ISBN: 9781942134046 / Paperback / 288 Pages / list price $16.95
“A fictional account of Wallenberg’s life that draws on a startling nonfictional interview by the author with the Swedish diplomat’s KGB interrogator to create a narrative which is more illuminating than any history we have or may ever get. . . the reader feels closer to understanding the complex nature of Raoul Wallenberg, as a “pure and saintly” and a “flawed and tainted” individual who undertook an important mission for humanity, as a Swede with some Jewish blood, and as a determined opponent of the brutal Nazi authority.” Louis Gordon, Tikkun
“The fate of Raoul Wallenberg has remained a mystery for more than seventy years, and Alan Lelchuk’s novel uses a fictional investigation to explore the real question of what happened. This is a thoughtful and compelling novel…will hopefully introduce more readers to an important and often overlooked hero.”— Foreword Magazine.
“The novel may be as close to the “truth” about Wallenberg and why we need to keep his memory alive as we are likely to have. Thanks to Lelchuk, Wallenberg’s ethical example continues to move us with admiration and awe.”— Donald Weber, Jewish Book Council
“At once a detective story and an unusual love story, . . . A novel within a novel and filled with multiple layers and surprising characters that all lead to a deeper understanding of this enigmatic hero…. A tour-de-force…” Midwest Book Review
“Part detective story, part philosophic inquiry, part historic revisionism, . . .a thinking man’s thriller.”— Jules Feiffer, Oscar-winning cartoonist
“Sometimes we are better served by a novelist's imagination than by a professional historian's scholarship. . . A brilliantly constructed literary investigation into the mysterious life and death of Raoul Wallenberg.”—Michael Walzer, author of Just and Unjust Wars
The world remembers Raoul Wallenberg as the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Budapest in 1944-45, and was subsequently arrested by the Soviets in 1945, and taken to Moscow where he disappeared until his apparent death. Now, more than 70 years after these events, many mysteries about Wallenberg’s life and fate persist. Alan Lelchuk explores the mysteries still surrounding Wallenberg. How and when did he die? Did he perhaps survive in some Gulag camp or psychiatric hospital? Why did he languish in a Soviet prison from 1945-1947 without being exchanged by the Swedish government or rescued by his very wealthy and well-connected family in Stockholm?
Lelchuk meditates on these enduring mysteries and tries to imagine, with the scanty historical evidence, what might have really happened. During his writing of the novel Lelchuk engaged in wide research including travels to Stockholm, Budapest, and Moscow, where he interviewed historians, read documents and archives and visited physical sites. He also met with some of the few remaining witnesses, officials and participants including, most significantly, Wallenberg’s KGB interrogator (Daniel Pagliansky) in Lubyanka Prison in 1945-47—the first and only Westerner to interview this key character.
Alan Lelchuk is a novelist and professor, whose critically acclaimed novels are American Mischief, Miriam at Thirty-Four, Shrinking: The Beginning of My Own Ending, Miriam in Her Forties, Brooklyn Boy, Playing the Game, and Ziff: A Life? He co-edited 8 Great Hebrew Short Novels and has written, for young adults, On Home Ground. He is a co-founder of Steerforth Press, has taught at Brandeis University and Amherst College, and since 1985 has been on the faculty of Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
How Sweet It Is!
ISBN: 9781942134015; 214 Pages, Paperback $16.95
Selected as the “Centennial book” by the City of Miami Beach in celebration of its 100th anniversary!
“How Sweet It Is! plunges its fictional characters into the thrilling, dangerous, and often absurd world of Miami in the 1970s. It’s that rare book that manages to be both intensely informative and huge joy to read.” --Lara Vapnyar, author of There Are Jews in My House and Memoirs of a Muse
How Sweet It Is! brilliantly and hilariously captures the Miami of 1972”—Huffington Post
“Fans of the greater Miami megalopolis rejoice! Finally, there’s a novel that nails your part of the world!”
— Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story
“A powerful time capsule: open its covers and you enter a bittersweet moment in American Jewish history. . .. It’s all here—gangsters, survivors, flower children, school integration, Yiddish literature, the Munich Olympics, and the strange and beautiful possibilities of catastrophe and renewal in the elephant graveyard of 20th century American Jews, Miami Beach. Dive in and enjoy!”—Dara Horn, author of A Guide for the Perplexed
“It’s hard to resist raising a toast to a book that shows Lansky, Frank Sinatra, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Muhammad Ali at a Little League Baseball game umpired by Fidel Castro. As Gleason, would say, “And awaaaay we go!”—The Washington Post
“A smart, funny, rollicking and razor-sharp novel.-- Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Jewish Journal
“Rosenbaum strives to balance moral seriousness with outrageous antic humor as he tries to make sense of … the Holocaust. . .. [M]any will enjoy his take on Miami Beach back in the day. How sweet it all was — in memory, anyway.” Jewish Week
Set in Miami Beach in 1972, HOW SWEET IT IS! by critically acclaimed novelist, Thane Rosenbaum follows the Posner family—two Holocaust survivors, Sophie and Jacob and their son, Adam—doing everything they can to avoid one another in a city with an infinite supply of colorful diversions. In ’72 Miami hosted both the Republican and Democratic political conventions and experienced the rise of the counterculture, the Cold War, and the desegregation of the old South. In the style of E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, HOW SWEET IT IS! is populated and enriched by the presence of many historical characters of the day including Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Meyer Lansky, and Fidel Castro. Miami Beach was to be the Posner’s salvation. Instead they discover that it is not a place of camouflage—all that sunshine highlighted the very things they wished to forget.
Thane Rosenbaum is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second-Hand Smoke, and the novel-in-stories, Elijah Visible, which received the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for the best book of Jewish American fiction. He is a Distinguished Fellow at New York University School of Law where he directs the Forum on Law, Culture & Society
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