Page 114 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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AMERICAN JEWISH FICTION BOOKS
1952-1954
By
M
a r y
N.
K
i e v
L
OOKING over the output of American Jewish fiction for the
J
past two years one cannot help but note that there have been
few significant works. The subject matter of the novels, in the
main, differs slightly from previous years.
The coming of the Jew to America and his adjustment to
American life is portrayed in such works as
In The Morning Light
and
Cowboy on a Wooden Horse.
The transition from the native
European scene and ghetto life to the unknown struggles of life
in Boston or New York is filled with gay humor and sparkling
wit and challenging in many ways. The same adjustment to
social and economic conditions, though in a different vein and a
varied setting, is found in the moving story of
The Landsmen.
Anti-Semitism is strongly portrayed in books like
The Hate
Merchants
and
The Guilt Makers.
The emergence of the State of Israel in 1948, the heroic effort
of the people and their accomplishments are told in
The Coasts of
the Earth
,
Ketti Shalom
and
Out of the Dust.
Much of the originality and humor of Sholom Aleichem has
been made accessible to the English reader. To this may be added
the new edition of Israel Zangwill’s
King of Schnorrers
, in which
an essay on the nature of Jewish humor has been included.
A n g o f f , C h a r l e s .
In the morning light. New York, Beechhurst, 1953. 736
p .
The second volume in a trilogy about the Polonskys, an immigrant Jewish
family from Russia, now settled in Boston. The story is particularly concerned
with the Americanization of young David, growing up during World War I,
full of courage for the future and a nostalgic sadness for the past. Their joys
in their new experiences are poignantly drawn and will reawaken slumbering
memories for many. Awarded the Harry and Ethel Daroff Memorial Fiction
Award for 1953 by the Jewish Book Council of America.
A s c h , S h o l e m . A
passage in the night. Translated from the Yiddish by Maurice
Samuel. New York, Putnam, 1953. 367 p.
Isaac Grossman, a prosperous and successful Jewish builder and real estate
owner, is overcome with guilt and remorse, remembering that in his youth he
had stolen twenty-seven dollars from an unknown man. His frantic search
to make amends with either the man or his heirs is most interestingly and
sensitively told. He is misunderstood by all about him, particularly his son,
who has him committed to an institution. His grandson and a rabbi come to
his aid and help resolve the problem.
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