Books

Joshua Cohen’s Circuit Overload

‘Book of Numbers’ can be dazzling, but its his long meditation on being human in the age of computers bogs it down.

06/30/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

‘Ulysses,” it ain’t. And why, you may ask, do I start by saying what this book is not? Because Joshua Cohen’s startling new 580-page novel, “Book of Numbers” (Random House), reads like James Joyce’s giant classic — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wordy, to a fault — yes, and dense. But Cohen’s prose is dazzling, often magical. It’s not just the polymathic command of his subject matter — and Cohen is a polymath of art history, and computers, and comparative religion, and seemingly everything else. He is a master wordsmith of wordplay.

Joshua Cohen. Beowulf Sheehan

Joshua Cohen’s Circuit Overload

‘Book of Numbers’ can be dazzling, but his long meditation on being human in the age of computers bogs down.

06/24/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

“Ulysses,” it ain’t. And why, you may ask, do I start by saying what this book is not? Because Joshua Cohen’s startling new 580-page novel, “Book of Numbers” (Random House), reads like James Joyce’s giant classic — and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Wordy, to a fault — yes, and dense. But Cohen’s prose is dazzling, often magical. It’s not just the polymathic command of his subject matter — and Cohen is a polymath of art history, and computers, and comparative religion, and seemingly everything else. He is a master wordsmith of wordplay.

The cover of Joshua Cohen’s startling new 580-page novel, “Book of Numbers”.

‘To Tell Mizrahi Stories’

Rohr Prize-winner Ayelet Tsabari is a writer on a mission.

05/12/2015
Culture Editor

To read Ayelet Tsabari’s stories is to walk right into the living room of an elderly Yemenite grandmother cared for by a young Filipina woman in Rosh HaAyin, or a loud Tel Aviv bar filled with soldiers in varying degrees of off-duty, or to have tea in a backyard garden on an island off Vancouver, where license plates read “The Best Place on Earth.”

Tsabari’s stories are peopled with the children and grandchildren of imigrants from Yemen, Iraq and Morocco.  HarperCollins

Reconciling With Mom

Alice Eve Cohen’s memoir, ‘The Year My Mother Came Back.’

05/05/2015
Culture Editor

Alice Eve Cohen didn’t expect her mother to take center stage in her memoir. But as she was writing about a very challenging year in the life of her family, her late mother seemed to appear, on the page and at the kitchen table.

Alice Eve Cohen’s newest memoir recounts a difficult year in her adult life.  Janet Charles Photos

Volumes Of Remembrance

A sampling of new books about the Holocaust and its aftermath.

04/07/2015
Culture Editor

‘Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope” by Wendy Holden (Harper) is the story of three women transported to Auschwitz while pregnant. Since pregnancy meant immediate extermination, each hid her pregnancy and managed to survive; each didn’t know that the others were also pregnant. All three gave birth at around the same time, in secret, defying death to give their children life. Growing up, these children — all turning 70 this year — came to know one another and have since become “siblings of the heart.” Next month, they will reunite at Mauthausen to commemorate the 70th anniversary of liberation. Holden is a journalist, author and novelist who divides her time between the U.S. and U.K.

The subjects in Holden’s book will reunite next month.

‘The Capital Of The Crime Against Women’

Sarah Helm’s captivating biography of Ravensbruck, the Nazi’s concentration camp for women.

04/07/2015
Culture Editor

Ravensbruck was the only Nazi concentration camp for women, and it was run mostly by women. The majority of the women killed there were not Jews. They were women with Communist leanings, political prisoners, Gypsies, prostitutes, Jehovah’s Witnesses, members of the resistance, housewives, artists, petty criminals and upper-class women, from different countries.

Helm accessed many previously unavailable documents in telling the Ravensbruck story.  Barney Jones Photography

The Sun And Fun Capital Of The World?

Miami Beach in 1972 is the backdrop for Thane Rosenbaum’s antic new Holocaust novel.

04/01/2015
Special To The Jewish Week

In his new novel, “How Sweet It Is!” (Mandel Vilar Press), Thane Rosenbaum rolls back the clock to 1972 and transports us to the less-than-sweet, unglamorous side of Miami Beach. Here, as in his previous works of fiction, Rosenbaum strives to balance moral seriousness with outrageous antic humor as he tries to make sense of what can never make sense: the Holocaust.

In Rosenbaum’s fiction, Jackie Gleason, Meyer Lansky and I.B. Singer collide with a family haunted by the Shoah.

Excerpt- From the Devil to the King

A special book excerpt
From the Devil to the King,
by A.J. Thurso

Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities: Michael Lesher, McFarland & Company, 287 pps. $45.

03/03/2015
Staff Writer

The disgrace of sexual abusers (nearly entirely men) who identify themselves as Orthodox Jews is a well-known subject, covered extensively in recent decades in the Jewish and general media.

"Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities:" Michael Lesher, McFarland & Company, 287 pps. $45.

Shul Politics, The Novel

Raphael Silver’s posthumously published novel, set in a Cleveland synagogue, dissects congregational life.

02/24/2015
Culture Editor

Around the time he was 80, Raphael D. Silver sat down to write his first novel. A few years earlier, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, his first climb. He’s a man who, after much success as a real estate developer, began producing and directing films.

The author, son of the prominent Zionist leader Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver. Courtesy of Author House
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