Page 122 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 15

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AMERICAN JEWISH FICTION BOOKS
1956-1957
By
M
a r y
N.
K
ie v
A
LTHOUGH the themes treated in the novels published this
year are varied, many of them focus on the struggles and
problems of interaction between individual behavior and the
cultural problem. Thus in
The Sacrifice
we are confronted with
the conflict between father and son, youth and tradition, old world
concept in the new world of Canada.
Compulsion
revives the
heinous Leopold-Loeb murder case, and treats from a psycho­
analytical point of view the two brilliant youths who were unable
to come to grips with the world about them.
Nothing But The
Night
is also based on this case, though here the setting is New
York rather than Chicago, the original locale. Dr. Samuel
Abelman, in
The Last Angry Man
, is a curious blend of lovable
and erratic traits who is faced with the current problem of the
disintegrating neighborhood.
The Assistant
, an Italian who comes
to help a poor grocer, Morris Bober, creates a problem when he
falls in love with Bober’s daughter.
The collections of Jewish short stories deserve special mention
for their portrayal of Jewish life in Israel and in Europe.
Israel
Argosy Number 4
and
Tehilla and Other Israeli Tales
present to
the English-reading public fascinating aspects of life in Israel as
depicted by some of her leading Hebrew writers.
The Marked One
and Other Stories
delineates Jewish life in Germany.
Selected
Stories of Sholom Aleichem
, a Modern Library edition, serves to
recall the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe.
The Bible, more than any other book in the world’s literature,
has attracted and continues*to attract novelists who use biblical
themes. There were many such works this year, but none is
unusual or outstanding.
B a l c h i n , N i g e l .
The fall of a sparrow. New York, Rinehart, 1956. 309 p.
The love o f a Jewish girl for the son o f a distinguished British soldier, unable
to conform to society, causes him to change his political outlook.
B a s s i n g , E i l e e n .
Home before dark. New York, Random, 1957. 335 p.
This is the story o f Charlotte Bronn’s struggle to regain her place in a
normal world after her release from a state mental hospital. Terrified of
recommitment she fights a battle o f self-control and self-understanding until
she discovers the cause o f her trouble. Jacob Diamond, refugee and only
Jewish faculty member at a New England school, sympathises with her and
understands her plight and tries to help her.
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