Page 109 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 4

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RITTENBERG ----CRITICS SAY
There is an interesting change of style as Joseph’s will bows before the
determination of Jacob when they meet; the rapid tempo that suits the
modern, more pliant Joseph gives way to the epic grandeur that befits
Jacob’s monumental figure.
The novel ends with the solemn death of Jacob, and Thomas Mann
has another opportunity to give his love of
pompe junebre
full sway.
— A g n e s
E.
M e y e r i n
The New York Times Book Review
The Licnheartcd.
By
C h a r l e s R e z n i k o f f .
Philadelphia,
T h e
J e w i s h P u b l i c a t i o n S o c i e t y ,
1944. 243
p a g e s .
$2.50.
As on a tapestry of deep and somber tones figured with men and women
in epic proportions, Charles Reznikoff works out the tragic story of the
English Jews in the time of Richard Coeur de Lion, centering about the
York Massacre. The author says that he has taken no actual figures
for his characters, save in the case of historic names given, but men and
women, under whatever names, suffered as these have suffered and went
down in ends as glorious or ignominous as those described. Mr. Reznikoff
has made no attempt to lighten or popularize the brutal and bloody tale
he has to tell. He writes with a simple dignity which saves the work from
being an exercise in horror, and he relates the happenings with an objec-
tive realism safe from sentimentality or special pleading. Greed and
cynical expediency are the prime movers in the tragedy; superstition
and brutality the means for working it out. The policies of those in power
to drain to the last coin the Jewish wealth within the country unleash the
mob’s delight in torture, rape, and murder for their sake. There is, of
course, the thread of personal story running through the novel, for these
are men and women living daily lives as history unrolls, but for most
readers it will be merely the highlighted accent of the real narrative of
man’s inhumanity to man in one of its ugliest phases. Despite its time
and place this is no tale of faraway and long ago; one need turn only to
yesterday’s newspaper for fresh news of this old evil.
— G l a d y s G r a h a m B a t e s in
Book-of-the-Month Club News
Earth and High Heaven.
By
G
w e n t h a l y n e
G
r a h am
.
New York,
J. B.
L
i p p i n co t t
Co., 1944. 288 pages. $2.50.
Miss Graham attacks her theme directly and forthrightly. “One of
the questions they were sometimes asked was where and how they had
met, for Marc Reiser was a Jew, originally from a small town in northern
Ontario, and from 1933 until he went overseas in September, 1942, a
junior partner in the law firm of Maresch and Aaronson in Montreal,
and Erica Drake was a Gentile, one of the Westmount Drakes.” This
is the way
Earth and High Heaven
begins. The rest of the book is the
story of how Marc and Erica met, how they fell in love, how they were
thwarted by families, conventions, prejudices and Marc’s Jewish sensi-
tivity, and how finally, daring earth and high heaven, they decide to get
married.
Earth and High Heaven
is very satisfying as a novel, written with great
sensitivity, beauty and understanding. From the point of view of the