Page 140 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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AMERICAN JEWISH F ICT ION BOOKS
1957-1958
B y M a r y
N.
K i e v
T
HE varieties of experiences that encompassed and engulfed
so many in Nazi dominated Europe is hauntingly and vividly
portrayed in many of this year’s novels. The need to purge one-
self from the memories of horror, to remind those who have for-
gotten about the impact of Hitler’s barbarism in the concentra-
tion camps, is evoked forcefully in
Breaking Point , Angry Harvest ,
The Dev i l and the Deep , Home is the Place,
and
A Ligh t for
Fools.
An encouraging contrast, however, can be found in the novels
with Israeli background. Here the heroic struggle to heal the
wounds and to solve the complex human and economic problems
that beset the Israelis, are faced and surmounted. To many Israel
is not a symbol but a reality and a hope, as in
K i lome ter 95,
Between the Stars and the Cross, The Level l ing Wind ,
and
The Bankrupts .
The inner conflicts of the younger generation of Jewry are
brought into focus by the frantic attempt of some of its youth to
escape their Jewish heritage, as Richard Amsterdam in
Rem em -
her Me to God,
Charles March in
The Conscience of the Rich,
Bill Roth in
Early to Rise
and Louis Adar in
The Last Hero.
Some of the realities of Jewish life, its folklore and its folk*
ways, are portrayed with consummate skill in a number of collec-
tions of short stories. Brodkey’s
First Love and Other Sorrows
are tender and witty stories whose characters are certainly very
much a phenomenon of the American campus. One will also find
the characters in Malamud’s
The Magic Barrel
funny, tragic and
very real. Singer’s
Gimpe l the Fool and Other Stories
are a blend
of lyrical mysticism and earthy realism; while Peretz, in his
In
This World and The Nex t ,
has caught the art and life of Polish
Jewry in pre-war Warsaw.
Although there were fewer novels on Biblical themes this year,
there were two by distinguished Jewish novelists: Lion Feucht-
wanger’s
Jephta and His Daughter
and Howard Fast’s
Moses,
Prince of Egypt .
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