Browsing All Posts filed under »book reviews«

My 2020 first book nominees

December 29, 2020

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Yesterday as a National Book Critics Circle voting member I submitted my ballot on which I nominated six first books for NBCC’s John Leonard Prize for a First Book. Any book published in 2020 that is its author’s first published book is eligible. This year I read 36 first books of varying genres, but all […]

Best 2019 debut fiction books (IMHO)

December 3, 2019

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As a voting National Book Critics Circle member I cast my ballot (electronically) last week nominating five 2019 first books for the John Leonard Prize. Any eligible 2019 first book that gets 20% of the member votes will become a finalist. My five include two debut short story collections and three debut novels: The two […]

Brief review: The Rabbi of Lud by Stanley Elkin

April 17, 2019

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I’m taking a break from reading and reviewing new books to catch up with some old ones on my TBR list. I’m also trying to improve my Hebrew and am currently reading and enjoying the Hebrew edition of Ya’akov Shabtai’s unfinished last novel סוף דבר (published in English as Past Perfect). In circumstances when I […]

Book review: Muck by Dror Burstein

January 24, 2019

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“… readers will enjoy this funny, imaginative, and handsomely crafted novel first and foremost as a memorable work of literature, and as such it deserves to reach a wide audience.” — From my review of Muck by Dror Burstein in New York Journal of Books

Book review: The William H. Gass Reader

November 7, 2018

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  “According to Gass a total aesthete reduces everything to style; the centrality of moral and ethical issues in his writing proves that Gass is not merely an aesthete. Whether or not they agree with him his readers will never be cognitively malnourished, and his poetic prose is a joy to read even when its […]

Book review: Late Beauty: Poems by Tuvia Ruebner

November 1, 2018

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“Readers who devoured In the Illuminated Dark will welcome the additional poems in Late Beauty, and for readers unacquainted with Ruebner’s poetry Late Beauty provides a portal.” — From my review of Late Beauty: Selected Poems of Tuvia Ruebner translated from the Hebrew by Lisa Katz and Shahar Bram in New York Journal of Books.  […]

Book review: The Mandela Plot by Kenneth Bonert

June 4, 2018

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“South African born Jewish-Canadian author Kenneth Bonert’s sophomore effort The Mandela Plot is a sequel to his multiple awards winning debut novel The Lion Seeker (also reviewed on NYJB) that continues the Helger family saga begun in the earlier volume in a rather dark combination coming of age story and political thriller. A concluding epilogue in the final […]

Book review: The Diamond Setter by Moshe Sakal

March 21, 2018

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“… well written, masterfully translated by Jessica Cohen, and rewards rereading.”  — From my review of The Diamond Setter by Moshe Sakal in New York Journal of Books

Book review: Empty Set by Veronica Gerber Bicecci

March 7, 2018

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“Veronica Gerber Bicecci’s debut novel, second book and her first translated into English, Empty Set (Conjunto vacío), has multiple dualities—the verbal and the visual, the analytic and the emotional, autobiography and fiction—that aspire to convey ineffable sums greater than their constituent parts.” — From my review of Empty Set by Veronica Gerber Bicecci in New York Journal of Books    

Book Review: Petty Business by Yirmi Pinkus

February 7, 2018

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“Petty Business, the second of Yirmi Pinkus’ five novels and the first to be published in English, satirically portrays the life of a family of Tel Aviv store owners with both fondness and humor over one year—1989, a time in which neighborhood mom and pop stores were being put out of business by larger chain […]