Page 28 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 11 (1952-1952)

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AMERICAN JEW ISH F ICT ION BOOKS
1951-1952
By
M
a r y
N.
K
ie v
T
HE American Jewish scene continues to fill a prominent place
in the novels portraying segments of Jewish life. In general
this year’s crop of fiction is composed of a group of works whose
background and action are concerned with the life of Jews in the
large cities. I t is therefore hard to find among the books any
description of the life of the Jew either individually or in the
aggregate in areas which are closer to the grass roots of America.
The Eas t Side of New York and Brooklyn are the normal
settings of many of the novels. From them it is possible to obtain
a view of the specifically Jewish patterns of living th a t describe
the lonely immigrants, their struggle towards personal emancipa-
tion and economic improvement and their u tte r helplessness in the
face of the conflict th a t developed between themselves and their
children. Many of the novelists stress the inability of the immi-
gran t to transm it the distinctive spiritual and religious values of
their heritage and thus underscore the hungry void and spiritual
poverty in the lives of their native born children.
The common problem frequently encountered in many of the
volumes listed is the th rea t of intermarriage, as well as the fact
of its occurrence. Actually most of the books here are concerned
with intermarriage and the numerous problems of conflict and
adjustment which it entails.
The tragedy and the drama of the survival and transp lan ta tion
of the human beings who escaped alive out of the European
holocaust and the concentration camps of Europe command a
considerable place in this group of books. In many of them
America as well as Israel are the scenes of renewed vigor and
spiritual adjustment. A number of the authors dwell on the
suffering and struggle within the torture centers of Nazidom.
Israel as a haven for the worn and weary of the Old. World
looms large as background for the novelist. Some of the stories
are set in ancient Palestine of the first century.
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