Page 26 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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Lang’s marital and paternal relations
(The Dream Museum,
all disclose a deep compassion for suffering humanity.
His characters are often Jewish. They have a Jewish sensibility,
although they have little Jewish awareness and even less knowl­
edge. Perhaps one of his characters was speaking for Epstein
when he complained that, in his formative years, he was never
given the opportunity to become informed about his Jewishness,
not taught, not allowed or encouraged to become interested.
With the exception of Epstein and perhaps Charyn, the newer
writers dealt more directly with Jewish subjects than the great trio
that made Jewish fiction fashionable and critically respectable.
Some, like Cohen, Ozick, Potok and Kaplan utilized Jewish expe­
rience in a new and often effective way. They had the knowledge
and the desire to search for meaning in Jewish tradition and
myth. While they did not shy from sociology and certainly not
psychology, they did not limit themselves to this amply explored
area. In one way or another, at least some sought to deal with the
mysteries of the Holocaust, the wisdom of its survivors, the mira­
cle of Israel and the new conflicts which the Jewish State engen­
dered. They have broadened the field of Jewish literature, while
not succeeding in restoring it to the eminence it enjoyed during
the so-called Renaissance.