Literature: Fiction, Drama, Poetry

Shofar, January 31, 2000 | Go to article overview

Literature: Fiction, Drama, Poetry


Literature: Fiction, Drama, Poetry

Arab Folktales from Palestine and Israel, introduction, translation, and annotation by Raphael Patai. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1998. 278 pp. ISBN 0-8143-2710-9.

Raphael Patai studies tales from three separate time. These fables, part of the cultural heritage of a small comer of the Arab world, are translated into English and present a sense of the original style and a picture of traditional Arab life and customs, attitudes, social and cultural norms, psychology, and values.

Bernhard, by Yoel Hoffmann, translated by Alan Treister and Eddy Levenston. New York: New Directions, 1998. 192 pp. ISBN 0-8112-1389-7.

Bernhard is a novel set in 1940s Israel about a widower rebuilding his life.

A Crown for the King, by Solomon ibn Gabirol, translated by David R. Slavitt. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. 112 pp. ISBN 0-19-511962-2.

Solomon ibn Gabirol (ca. 1021-ca. 1058) was the greatest of the Spanish Jewish poets and an important neoplatonist philosopher. Bernard Lewis has called this poem one of the major works of Hebrew literature. Its theme is the problem of the human predicament: the frailty of man and his proclivity to sin, in tension with a benign providence that must leave room for the operation of man's fee will and also make available to him the means of penitence.

Damascus Gate, by Robert Stone. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. 512 pp. ISBN 0-395-66569-8.

A literary thriller set in Jerusalem and inspired by real events of the past ten years, Damascus Gate is the story of a man's search for truth and the story of a city.

Elijah Visible: Stories, by Thane Rosenbaum. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999. 224 pp. ISBN 0-312-19865-5.

Thane Rosenbaum examines the emotional legacy placed on the Holocaust's second generation in these stories.

The Fragmented Life of Don Jacobo Lerner, by Isaac Goldemberg. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1999. 213 pp. ISBN 0-8263-2074-0.

This is a novel of Jewish life in Peru between 1920 and 1935. Don Jacobo Lerner, an immigrant farmer from czarist Russian, tries on his deathbed to piece together his life, the pieces of which are told through the testimony of family and friends, newspaper articles, and the words of his bastard son.

God, Man and Devil: Yiddish Plays in Translation, translated and edited by Nahma Sandrow. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1998. 320 pp. ISBN 0-8156-2786-6.

This volume is an anthology of five Yiddish plays in translation, plus two additional independent scenes, all by well-known playwrights in the first quarter of the century. The plays are accompanied by prefaces and notes.

The Gray Lover: Three Stories, by Carl Friedman. New York: Persea Books, 1998. 176 pp. ISBN 0-87255-232-8.

The three stories here explore Jewish identity, history, and tradition. In the title story, a man well past a hundred years old, survivor of pogroms and a world war, finds solace in the company of a young donkey. In "Holy Fire," an ordinary Jewish boy from a small Dutch city is transformed into a violent fundamentalist in Israel. …

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