Page 93 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 13

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AMERICAN JEWISH FICTION BOOKS
1954-1955
By
M
a ry
N.
K
i e v
T
WO distinct and definite themes dominate American Jewish
fiction for the year 1954-1955. The Jew is no longer the
poor immigrant; he has found himself and is enjoying the
goldene
medine
— America. Beginning with the first Jewish settlers to
these shores in Zara’s historical novel.
Blessed Is the Land
, to later
immigrants in Angoff’s
Sun at Noon
and Fergusson’s
Conquest of
Don Pedro
, Jews have become integrated into the American scene.
The settings, too, are not confined to the Eastern Seaboard, but
spread out to Kentucky, New Mexico and as far as the Aleutians.
The aftermath of Hitler’s bestiality is powerfully and poig-
nantly portrayed in
The House of Dolls
, by Ka-Tzetnik 135633
(translated from the Hebrew), Falstein’s
Sole Survivor
and Morgen-
stern’s
The Third Pillar.
Sufferings, deeply branded on the mem-
ories of the survivors, are gradually being forgotten by the rest
of the world.
Some of the old Yiddish favorites, such as Mendele’s
The Nag
and Sholom Aleichem’s
The Great Fair
, have been translated into
English. Howe and Greenberg’s
A Treasury of Yiddish Stories
will
be welcome to those not familiar with Yiddish literature in the
original. Two other well known authors come to us in translation —
Gerchunoff and Feuchtwanger.
One marvels at the persistency of the Bible as a source of
inspiration for the novelist and as in former years there is a spate
of Biblical novels.
A
b r a h a m s
, P
e t e r
.
Tell freedom. New York, Knopf, 1954. 370
p .
Peter Abrahams, born in 1919 in Johannesburg, tells of his life in that
tragic land. He relates his chance meeting with a Jewish girl who introduced
him to the wonders of Shakespeare. This meeting changed his whole outlook
on life; he was determined to go to school, learn to read and one day write
stories. A poignantly beautiful book.
A
n g o f f
, C
h a r l e s
.
The sun at noon. New York, Beechhurst, 1955. 572
p .
The third volume in his fictional portrayal of Jewish American life in the
past half century. All that was present and potential in the preceding two
volumes ripens in this one. The book deals with the Polonskys from 1919 to
1923, particularly with David’s four years at Harvard, where he seeks answers
to the abiding questions of living that beset his highly sensitive soul.
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