Page 29 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 9 (1950-1951)

Basic HTML Version

R I B A L OW ----AMER ICAN J EW I S H FICT ION BOOKS
21
Norman Katkov, whose first novel
Eagle A t My Eyes
was considered by
many Jewish critics to have been written in self-hate, has dealt, by and large,
with the same individuals in his second novel. The hero of this book is the
narra tor’s father, an immigrant from Europe who settled in the Middle West
and who has raised a large family of “ good Americans” and more than indif-
ferent Jews. Told with affection toward the major hero, the book nevertheless
includes a number of anti-Semitic scenes and, in spite of the book’s generally
fine reception, it is not one of the memorable or worthy books of the past
year.
K
o m a i k o
,
S. B. Here
t o s t a y .
New York, Bloch,
19 4 9 . 3 2 3 p .
There are 98 extremely short stories in this volume, all of them dealing
with Jewish life in America. Although the tales are neither literary nor
literature, the cumulative effect of nearly one hundred stories on more or
less the same themes offers a valuable insight into the problems and processes
of Jewish life in this country.
L
e v i n
, B
e a t r i c e
.
The lonely room. New York, Indianapolis, Bobbs-Merrill,
1950. 286
p .
In this first novel, Beatrice Levin describes the love affair between a Jewish
girl, brought up in a Jewish home, and an Italian. Although many of the
scenes are well-written and there is much Jewish atmosphere in the life led
by the Jews, the story is trite and the ending seems completely false, for the
girl, finally recognizing that she belongs with the Jews, ends up marrying the
Italian.
L
o w r y
, R
o b e r t
.
The big cage. New York, Doubleday, 1950. 342 p.
Here is another “ I-want-to-be-a-writer” novel, in which the author pro-
ceeds to describe the private agonies of a would-be genius. Lowry has written
a murky, pretentious book, vulgar in spots, which includes in its cast the
usual stereotype of Jew: the cultured intellectual woman who encourages
young genius, in this case the hero of the novel.
M
a l e t z
, D
a v i d
.
Young hearts. New York, Schocken, 1950. 237 p.
Called by its publishers, “ the first genuine modern Israeli novel to be pre-
sented in English,” David Maletz’s work is an interesting study of life in a
communal settlement, the problems facing the couple whose story this is and
the kind of people tha t Israel has produced. This novel created a sensation
when it was first published in Israel under the title of
Maagalot.
M
e n d e
, R
o b e r t
.
Spit and the stars. New York, Rinehart , 1949. 378 p.
This is a first novel in which the hero, Greg Haber, is a young boy who
fights his way to manhood by way of a love affair, union strikes and various
other incidents common to autobiographical first novels. The Haber family
is not a pleasant unit, and the novel, containing a good many vulgarities,
falls flat as an interesting narrative of a typical Jewish group.
M
i l l e r
, M
e r l e
.
The sure thing. New York, Sloane, 1949. 341 p.
In this timely novel about a Washington loyalty probe, Merle Miller
introduces a fanatical Jewish Communist and a Jewish woman who had once
been married to the hero of the book.
R
o b b i n s
, H
a r o l d
.
The dream merchants. New York, Knopf, 1949. 496 p.
Harold Robbins, who has dealt with Jews in the two novels he has written,
has produced in
The Dream Merchants
what is probably the finest novel yet
written about Hollywood. As usual, the novel, as all books about the film
capital, describes many Jewish Hollywood luminaries.
R
o b i n s o n
, H
e n r y
M
o r t o n
.
The cardinal. New York, Simon and Schuster,
1950. 579 p.
In this huge best-seller concerning the rise of a priest to the post of cardinal,
there is included the story of one of the cardinal’s sisters who falls in love with
a Jew and finds tha t the pressure of her family — which is anti-Semitic —
is strong enough to break up the lovers. The girl later dies in childbirth.
Ross,
S
a m
.
The sidewalks are free. New York, Farrar , Straus, 1950. 308 p.
This is a story about Hershy Melov, a Jewish boy in Chicago, and about his
family’s efforts to become Americanized and to beat the poverty which assails
them. A novel written with affection and with understanding,
The Sidewalks
Are Free
has only the fault of repeating in theme and in content countless
previous novels about Jewish life in America.