Page 81 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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YUDKIN / THE POST-WAR ANGLO-JEWISH FAMILY NOVEL
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misery, an expression of inability to bear the reality imposed from
the outside.
The naturalistic Jewish family novel is not the only Anglo-
Jewish fiction available. It does, however, indicate a major social
focus and itself becomes a literary focus as the writer tries to make
sense of that world and to illustrate it. Otherwise, there is that
genre close to the novel but not identical with it, autobiography,
as practiced, for example, by Dannie Abse in his three excursions
into an evocation of a Welsh Jewish past. Autobiography does not
demand the effort of detachment, the attempt to see the picture
whole, not just the individual hero (the I), but also what is round
him, before him and beyond him. Other writers, in pursuit of
their own changing experience, have transferred the object of
their attention from, for example, the East End of London to its
northern suburbs, as has Bernard Kops who has likewise tried to
find an argot to match this alteration. There is also a totally dif­
ferent approach, as evidenced by Wolf Mankowitz in the fifties
and by Clive Sinclair now. That is, not to render experience
naturalistically but through a series of images sometimes surreal-
isticallyjuxtaposed. But that, as they say, is another story. It is the
family novel that has as its subject the Jew in the community, and
in that we can see what allows the family to operate as a unit, and
what are the limits of its elasticity. Each one in its own way and all
of them collectively, illustrate the effect for the Jew of the transi­
tion to the British scene.