Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 33

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16
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
After that, however, the only American books were Philip
Roth’s
Goodbye, Columbus,
Wallant’s
The Human Season,
Yel-
len’s
The Wedding Band.
In subsequent years there were Singer’s
The Slave,
Greenberg’s
The Kings Persons,
Wiesel’s
The Town
Beyond the Wall,
Levin’s
The Stronghold,
Grade’s
The Well,
all dealing with subjects outside the United States until Angoff
won in 1968 for
Memory of Autumn.
Any reader who peruses the list of winners can’t help noticing
that some outstanding Jewish writers, including Harvey Swados
who died a few years ago but wrote on American Jews, have
never won this award. Also included is Herbert Gold who, like
Swados, has written widely and on many subjects, including Jews.
Not long ago there was published
My Last Two Thousand Years,
an intriguing autobiography in which he describes his journey
back to Judaism. Bruce Jay Friedman and Norman Mailer have
not won. There are young writers who are on the way up, so to
speak, who may some day win this kind of attention. One is
David Evanier who has published short stories in magazines like
the
Paris Review
and a novel in Canada about a young American
Jew. His work reflects a new style and a new mood in Jewish
writing.
NOVELISTS AS JEWS, AMERICANS AND WRITERS
It is dispiriting that novelists like Philip Roth, Saul Bellow
and Bernard Melamud insist and persist in differentiating them­
selves as Jews, as writers and as Americans. Roth has written
many essays to that effect, and in a recent issue of the
Paris
Review,
No. 61, Malamud says in an interview conducted by
Daniel Stern, “I ’m an American, I ’m a Jew, and I write for all
men. A novelist has to or he has built himself a cage. I write
about Jews, when I write about Jews, because they set my
imagination going. I know something about their history, the
quality of their experience and belief, and of their literature,
though not as much as I would like.” Then he goes on to say,
“but the point I am making is that I was born in America and
respond, in American life, to more than Jewish experience.”
In 1974 Saul Bellow delivered a commencement address at
Brandeis University which was published in 1975 in the
Ameri­
can Scholar.
He has a paragraph which I shall quote because I