Page 57 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 39

Basic HTML Version

ROBERTA KALECHOFSKY
Latin American Jewish Writers
L
it e r a t u r e
is
a
facet as well as an expression o f social history, so
tha t the patterns o f Jewish literary communities in Latin America
are related to social factors o f history: migration, demographic
shifts and political changes, as well as to particular features o f a
given cultural matrix. Among these may be noted the influence of
world-wide ideas — Marxism, the Women’s movement, revolu­
tion and the rise o f the Th ird World.
It must be said at the outset that, except for A rgentinian writ­
ers, particularly Alberto G erchunoff and the contemporary poet,
Cesar Tiempo, or the Cuban born poet Jose Kozer, whose writ­
ings draw on Jewish motifs, themes and symbols, the literature of
o ther Jewish Latin American writers is by and large an expression
o f present-day concerns in the world. Even when the personages
and institutional settings o f a story are Jewish as in
Musicians and
Watchmakers,
by the Argentinian writer, Alicia Steimberg, the
thrust o f her writing is the critique o f bourgeois society. T ha t he r
particular bourgeois society is Jewish is almost, though not read ­
ily, incidental. T he Jewish context does serve a function as setting
and tone, as “ethnic ambience,” bu t not as thematic substance.
On the o ther hand ,
The Fragmented Life of Don Jacobo Lerner
by
the Peruvian born novelist, Isaac Goldemberg is a critique o f Jews
as
Jews in the ir involvement with Peruvian (Indian and Spanish)
culture, and the ir memories o f Europe explicated against a Pe ru ­
vian background. T he format o f the novel is one o f a narrative
interspersed with articles from various journalistic sources. The
book has enjoyed some success and has been published in New
York as well as in Peru.
Isaac Goldemberg was born in Lima, Peru, in 1945, where he
attended the Jewish school, Leon Pinelo. He left Peru in 1962,
going first to Israel for a year, then to Barcelona, and finally to
New York. He has co-authored a book o f poetry with Jose Kozer,
De Chepen a La Habana
(1973), and is the au tho r o f a book o f
poems,
Tiempo de silencia,
which was published in Spain (1970), as
well as a novelist and short story writer.
51