Page 323 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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1993 National Jewish Book Awards
AUTOBIOGRAPHY
/
MEMOIR
T
he
S
a n dra
B
rand
an d
A
rik
W
e in trau b
A
ward
On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist,
by Norman Manea (Grove
Weidenfeld)
In
On Clowns: The Dictator and the Artist,
Norman Manea ex­
plores the realm of pain, anger, and fear that confronts the
creative mind in a tyranny. Patiently and precisely, with a sense
of humor and humanity, he catalogues the techniques with
which a malevolent power binds the artist to itself; the subtle
torture of censorship, the politics of substitution, the opiates
of nationalism and ideology. With equal passion, Manea cata­
logues what the artist must rely on to survive under such cir­
cumstances: the masterful disguise of the buffoon, an aesthetic
inseparable from ethics, a hatred of mediocrity, and, whenever
the opportunity arises, a healthy raspberry to the dictator.
CHILDREN’S LITERATURE
T h e B a r b a r a C o h e n M e m o r i a l A w a r d
Letters from Rivka,
by Karen Hesse (Henry Holt)
In
Letters from Rivka,
twelve-year-old Rivka struggles to inter­
pret all that happens to her on the journey from her tiny village
of Berdichev in Russia until she finally exits Ellis Island. Her
sensitively written letters to her dear cousin Tovah, squeezed
on the blank pages and margins of her treasured volume of
Pushkin’s poems, tell of escape, typhus, separation from her
family, the isolated wait in Antwerp, and her final dispiriting
delay at Ellis Island. The epigraphs, beautifully selected from
Pushkin, and the quality of Karen Hesse’s prose make this much
more than “just another immigration story.”
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