There are a few Jewish hipster writers coming out with books this Spring that demand your attention. Most notably,Michael Chabon (The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) has one due for release next month. The Yiddish Policemen’s Club, whose film rights have already been sold, takes place in present time in Alaska but has more of a 40’s film noir vibe. Chabon has been pretty much MIA for the past seven years so I’m hoping this novel lives up to all its hype. I’m pretty sure it will.
Next on the roster, Howard Jacobson, a British author, has also been receiving rave reviews for Kalooki Nights which is a story about two comic book writers in Manchester, England. The book sheds some light on Mancunian Jewish culture which for that reason alone might be worth a read.
And lastly, the book I’m most anticipating and whose author was just interviewed in the NY Times Magazine yesterday, Nathan Englander’s The Ministry of Special Cases which is set in Argentina in the late 70s and whose main character bears the name Kaddish. What does Kaddish do for a living? Erases the inscriptions on tombstones of course. Kaddish’s own face becomes erased eventually by a botched-up nose job, but more to the point this is a father/son story set during politically tumultuous times in a foreign land written by a Long Island suburban jew boy.
Last sentence sound like a mouthful? In case I haven’t emphasized my affection for Englander’s work enough, he’s been compared to Isaac Bashevis Singer, Phillip Roth, and John Cheever. If I’ve sufficiently peaked your curiosity, go here to listen to a collection from his book of short stories entitled For The Relief of Unbearable Urges.
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