Page 42 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
30
its Jewish allies.” In expressing his doubt of the Hitlerian line
that the Jews in New York must be fought because “Jews have
come to dominate American life,” Moon hoists himself out of
the good graces of the clerical group and the political sweepstakes.
Written by a liberal Irish Catholic, the novel has the flavor of
a
Studs Lonigan
with intellectual biceps. The novel attacks priests
who seem to have forgotten all about Christian charity, humility,
generosity and lovingkindness. They preach instead a sinister
mixture of race prejudice, glorification of the Irish as a chosen
people and denunciation of Jews, hatred of labor, emphasis on
meaningless social conventions and mercenary standards,' and
reactionary mouthings close to fascism. The few Jewish char-
acters who are introduced in the novel are submissive to the
“wigwam,” they are the kind of Jews who are found fawning at
the Catholic charities dinners. Their money is frankly “Jew-
money” and as such is legitimate prey for the faithful. Through
this novel one obtains a better understanding of the milieu that
produces Christian Front anti-Semitism. It represents an honest
eflort to grapple with a major theme. I t considers an important
aspect of New York life which is, in no small degree, duplicated
in many a large American city.
The South of today is the setting for
Straw fire
, a novel by
Kathleen Crawford (N. Y., Morrow, ’47). I t presents the story
of a young impulsively impetuous Virginia girl, who clashes with
her family when she falls in love with a Jew.
The professor's
umbrella
; a novel by Mary Jane Ward [Mrs. Edward Quale]
(N. Y., Random, ’48) deals with racial prejudice on the campus
of a midwestern university.
NOVELS OF CONFLICT
Aspects of life in a community, in which Jews had intermarried
with Chinese families, are depicted in
Peony
by Pearl Sydenstricker
Buck (N. Y., Day, ’48). Like all of Miss Buck’s novels this one,
too, is set in China of a century ago. Life in China, as Miss Buck
presumes it, was then picturesque, serene and tantalizingly enig-
matic. The wisdom of China and the humanity and learning of
the Jews working together brought new life and happiness to the
many Jews settled there. The novel shows the Chinese Jewish
community gradually being assimilated among the populace. The
principal figure of this evocation is a young bond maiden, Peony,
who falls in love with David, her master’s son, a tall and handsome
young man. David, already one-quarter Chinese, is a descendant
of Jewish traders who have settled in China and have become