It wasn’t just that the novel’s prologue seems to feature Sir Isaac Newton in a romantic liaison with a young Italian man that caught my attention.
Meet M. Blanc. My strange new character is Polonius meets Blanchot, Borges meets Kafka, Prufrock meets the lack of social media in postwar Paris. Read, re-read. Repeat.
You can buy the e-book, “The Complete Letters of M. Blanc,” from Dutch Kills Press in three ways, from
What to do with Shylock? I was pondering this question recently while browsing in a Barnes and Noble, when I noticed that they’d helpfully labeled the Humor shelf, “Books that make you laugh.”
It’s not easy being me, Daniel Friedman. On top of the cares of delightful family, domestic finance and the Jewish Daily Forward, there’s the existential angst of living in a world of doppelgangers — whole crowds of Daniel Friedmans swarming around me. It’s like living in Charlie Kaufman’s “Being John Malkovich” except instead of everyone looking like me, everyone just has my name.
In Kohelet it says, “For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Now quite why the writer of Kohelet wants to be joined to a living dog is a question for animal lovers and biblical exegetes, but maybe the author’s motivation has to do with the prophesied outcome of being chained to a mutt.
Imagine you leave work one semester as a man but when you return to the classroom a few semesters later you are a woman. Imagine trying to smile through this gender transition if you teach at a conservative religious institution where gender roles are clearly delineated. And, just for kicks, imagine what your second day would be like if your first day back at work at Yeshiva University Stern College for Women was heralded on the front page of the New York Daily Post with the headline, “Ye-She-Va.” Instead of imagining, you could read Joy Ladin’s dignified testimony. “I am surrounded by love,” she writes. And she means it.
The book is dead. This time killed by the e-book. But is the death knell a little premature for a people who still read a vellum scroll twice a week?
Bill Shankly, the legendary soccer coach of the British club Liverpool FC, is often quoted as saying, “Football is not a matter of life and death, it’s more important than that.” The attribution is erroneous, but in the face of the Holocaust, even the playfulness of the sentiment rings hollow. Soccer’s fanatical support and cultural centrality, however, can provide a crucial prism through which to view life and death, war and peace.
Simon Kuper, author of “Soccer Against the Enemy: How the World’s Most Popular Sport Starts and Fuels Revolutions and Keeps Dictators in Power,” is the world expert on the intersection of soccer, culture and politics. His newly rereleased book, “Ajax, the Dutch, the War,” is a revaluation of the Dutch role in the Holocaust, starting with the surprising silence of the country’s biggest soccer club, Ajax, regarding its actions during the Nazi occupation.
In this podcast, Forward Managing Editor Dan Friedman talks with award-winning author Naomi Alderman. Her first novel, Disobedience, won her the Orange Award for New Writers and got her shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction and the Sami Rohr Prize. She is in the studio to discuss her new novel, The Liars’ Gospel which set in Roman-occupied Judea, which, as she puts it, “is mostly composed of massacres, riots and shagging.”
Political racists and soccer revolutionaries haunt the clash between Hungary and the Netherlands as the Dutch team arrives in Budapest on Tuesday ready to decide who will top the fledgling Group D table in World Cup qualifying.
As intriguing, though, is the match’s cultural backdrop: while Hungary has a terrible reputation for racism, a new book by Simon Kuper, “Ajax, the Dutch, the War: The Strange Tale of Soccer During Europe’s Darkest Hour,” was released on Tuesday, questioning the Dutch’s sterling reputation.