Page 24 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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14
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
as to which of his books in his series is really the best. I t is,
however, felicitous that he won twice, considering the excellence
and productivity of his Jewish writing career.
Leo Litwak’s
Waiting for the News
unhappily gained little
attention upon publication and no additional popularity when
it won the Jewish Book Council award. I t is particularly inter­
esting because it deals with labor union conflicts, Jewish workers
in the Middle West, the laundry man—and when is the last time
that anybody remembers reading a novel about a Jewish laundry
man? Litwak is a professor on the West Coast who won more
than one award with this book, but he hasn’t published another
novel since.
One wonders just how much effect such prizes have when one
reflects on a book of such high quality as
Waiting for the News,
and nothing much comes of it. The same is true of Robert
Kotlowitz’s
Somewhere Else.
Mr. Kotlowitz was a magazine editor
and later became an executive on TV Channel 13. He wrote his
novel comparatively late in life and it appears to be the first in
a series. Mr. Kotlowitz’s knowledge of Jewish life in a generation
unknown to him personally is quite astonishing. Extremely well
written, the novel was published in 1973. At this particular writ­
ing I am wondering whether he has been sufficiently encouraged
by its favorable critical reception, or discouraged by its lean
commercial reception.
THE WR ITER AS A HUMAN BEING
What the reader must always take into account is the realiza­
tion that, contrary to some suspicions, a writer is only a human
being; like the rest of us he is elevated and exalted or discouraged
and depressed depending upon the reception he gets. He must
live, and if his books don’t sell at all even good reviews may not
encourage him enough to carry forward. As he drifts into another
field, a decade will come and go and he will not have published
again.
Cynthia Ozick earned an immediate reputation with
The
Pagan Rabbi,
but since that time she has become a “public
personage.” She is deeply involved in Jewish life and participates
in symposia, in international conferences and lectures. She does
polemical work but there are those of us—and I am among them