Page 31 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 8 (1949-1950)

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BLOCH ---- THE YEAR ’S BOOKSHELF
(Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1949), has much in it which, in some
measure, is also autobiographical. I t deals with the emotional
storms that beset a widow after the sudden death of a husband to
whom she has been deeply attached. Her long and painful read-
justment to being single again convinces her that she must become
totally self-sufficient.
Most of the characters in
The world is a wedding
, by Delmore
Schwartz (Norfolk, Conn., New Directions, 1948), are Jews. The
book contains seven stories about middle-class New York Jews
and gives an extremely moving description of the griefs and dreams
of a half-dozen young people during the depression. The stories
are well done but excessively intellectual.
The city boy
, a novel by Herman Wouk (N. Y., Simon & Schuster,
1948), presents the humorous story of a boy in the big city — his
life in the Bronx ghetto, in school, in the business world and
especially in a second rate summer camp. While all the characters,
except the principal who ran the camp, are Jews they actually
reveal no traits of Jewish living.
The problem of the Jew in an alien environment is pene-
tratingly examined in
Whisper my name
, a first novel by Burke
Davis (N. Y., Rinehart, 1949). I t is the story of Daniel Gordon,
born Daniel Hyman Goldstein, who left the Jewish fur markets
of Philadelphia to make a new life for himself as a Baptist in
Elizabeth, a bustling little North Carolina town. He attains great
wealth and social power, but never loses the fear that his secret
will be disclosed only to discover that practically every one had
known of his pretense all along. He is now convinced that no man
of good-will can successfully live a lie.
A tender and humorous story about life and trouble with the
Pasternaks in Brooklyn is told in
Go fight city hall
, by Ethel
Rosenberg (N. Y., Simon & Schuster, 1949). I t has enough
moments of humor and warmth to make this a pleasant if seldom
hilarious or moving novel. Those who are titillated by the trans-
mutation of syntax which sometimes occurs in English speech east
of the East River will enjoy the skilful and sympathetic recording
of it in both the dialogue and text of this novel.
The curious wine
, a first novel by Bianca Bradbury (N. Y.,
Beechhurst, 1948), is the story of the marriage of Marty Townsend,
a Christian girl and Luke Beloff, a young Jewish doctor and the
casual intolerance of a little Connecticut town that was determined
to break up the marriage. While the novel has nothing to say
that is essentially original, as a story it is told with simplicity and
competence. I t is the product of an impulse to uphold tolerance
and human dignity.