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Wayne State University Press
The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction

The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction

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The Edward Lewis Wallant Award was founded by the family of Dr. Irving and Fran Waltman in 1963 and is supported by the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. It is given annually to an American writer, preferably early in his or her career, whose fiction is considered significant for American Jews. In The New Diaspora: The Changing Landscape of American Jewish Fiction, editors Victoria Aarons, Avinoam J. Patt, and Mark Shechner, who have all served as judges for the award, present vital, original, and wide-ranging fiction by writers whose work has been considered or selected for the award. The resulting collection highlights the exemplary place of the Wallant Award in Jewish literature.

With a mix of stories and novel chapters, The New Diaspora reprints selections of short fiction from such well-known writers as Rebecca Goldstein, Nathan Englander, Jonathan Safran Foer, Dara Horn, and Julie Orringer. The first half of the anthology presents pieces by winners of the Wallant award, focusing on the best work of recent winners. The New Diaspora’s second half reflects the evolving landscape of American Jewish fiction over the last fifty years, as many authors working in America are not American by birth, and their fiction has become more experimental in nature. Pieces in this section represent authors with roots all over the world—including Russia (Maxim Shrayer, Nadia Kalman, and Lara Vapnyar), Latvia (David Bezmozgis), South Africa (Tony Eprile), Canada (Robert Majzels), and Israel (Avner Mandelman, who now lives in Canada).

This collection offers an expanded canon of Jewish writing in North America and foregrounds a vision of its variety, its uniqueness, its cosmopolitanism, and its evolving perspectives on Jewish life. It celebrates the continuing vitality and fresh visions of contemporary Jewish writing, even as it highlights its debt to history and embrace of collective memory. Readers of contemporary American fiction and Jewish cultural history will find The New Diaspora enlightening and deeply engaging.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814340554
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
Publication date: 01/05/2015
Pages: 592
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Victoria Aarons is O. R. & Eva Mitchell Distinguished Professor of Literature at Trinity University and the author of A Measure of Memory: Storytelling and Identity in American Jewish Fiction and What Happened to Abraham?: Reinventing the Covenant in American Jewish Fiction. She has published widely on American Jewish and Holocaust literatures and is a contributor to the two-volume compendium Holocaust Literature: An Encyclopedia of Writers and Their Work.

Avinoam J. Patt is Philip D. Feltman Professor of Modern Jewish History at the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, where he is also director of the Museum of Jewish Civilization and administers the Edward Lewis Wallant Award. He is the author of Finding Home and Homeland: Jewish Youth and Zionism in the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Wayne State University Press, 2009) and co-editor with Michael Berkowitz of "We Are Here": New Approaches to the Study of Jewish Displaced Persons in Postwar Germany (Wayne State University Press, 2010). He has been a contributor to several projects at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and is co-author of the recently published source volume Jewish Responses to Persecution, 1938­–1940.

Mark Shechner was professor emeritus at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. He published widely on American literature and American Jewish fiction and intellectual life and has done extensive book reviewing over the course of his career.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction 1

Part I Selections by Edward Lewis Wallant Award-Winning Authors

1 "Sex on the Brain": Winner of 2012 award for The World Without You Joshua Henkin 21

2 "Purim Night": Winner of 2011 award for Binocular Vision Edith Pearlman 37

3 "The Smoothest Way Is Full of Stones": Winner of 2010 award for The Invisible Bridge Julie Orringer 49

4 from Pictures at an Exhibition: Winner of 2009 award for Pictures at an Exhibition Sara Houghteling 71

5 "The Bris": Winner of 2008 award for In the Mouth Eileen Pollack 85

6 "Six Days": Winner of 2007 award for Bearing the Body Ehud Havazelet 111

7 "The True World": Winner of the 2004 award for Joy Comes in the Morning Jonathan Rosen 123

8 "The Baghdadi": Winner of the 2003 award for An Hour in Paradise Joan Leegant 131

9 from The World to Come: Winner of the 2002 award for In the Image Dara Horn 145

10 "That'll Be Two Dollars and Fifty Cents, Please": Winner of the 2001 award for Bee Season Myla Goldberg 165

11 "Dinosaurs": Winner of the 1997 award for The Quarry Harvey Grossinger 173

12 "The Day the Brooklyn Dodgers Finally Died": Winner of the 1996 award for Elijah Visible Thane Rosenbaum 195

13 "The Afterlife of Skeptics": Winner of the 1995 award for Mazel Rebecca Newberger Goldstein 209

14 "Mandelbaum, the Criminal": Winner of the 1993 award for From Hunger Gerald Shapiro 219

15 "The Two Franzes": Winner of the 1992 award for Stories of an Imaginary Childhood Melvin Jules Bukiet 241

16 "Dedicated to the Dead": Winner of the 1988 award for Master of the Return Tova Reich 261

17 "Heaven Is Full of Windows": Winner of the 1987 award for Lazar Maikin Enters Heaven Steve Stern 279

18 "Electricity": Winner of the 1983 award for Hungry Hearts Francine Prose 283

19 "Say It Isn't So, Mr. Yiddish": Winner of the 1977 award for The Yemenite Girl Curt Leviant 299

Part II The New Diaspora

20 "Nathan Leopold Writes to Mr. Felix Kleczka of 5383 S. Blackstone": From The Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge, 2013 Peter Orner 313

21 from A Curable Romantic: From A Curable Romantic, 2012 Joseph Skibell 317

22 "Here We Aren't, So Quickly": From The New Yorker, June 14, 2012 Jonathan Safran Foer 335

23 "Free Fruit for Young Widows": From What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank, 2012 Nathan Englander 339

24 "Oslo": From Aftermath, 2011 Scott Nadelson 351

25 "My Brother Eli": From The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff, 2011 Joseph Epstein 353

26 "Yom Kippur in Amsterdam": From Yom Kippur in Amsterdam, 2009 Maxim D. Shrayer 387

27 "Zayin the Profane": From Book of the Unknown: Tales of the Thirty-Six, 2009 Jonathon Keats 399

28 "Deir Yassin": From The Pale of Settlement, 2008 Margot Singer 413

29 "The Counterpart": From The Walrus, July-August 2007 Madia Kalman 433

30 "Pity": From Talking to the Enemy, 2006 Avner Mandelman 445

31 "Minyan" David Bezmozgis: From Natasha and Other Stories, 2005 457

32 "There Are Jews in My House": From There Are Jews in My House, 2004 Lara Vapnyar 469

33 from Apikoros Sleuth: From Apikoros Sleuth, 2004 Robert Majzels 495

34 "Mr. Mitochondria": From The Dialogues of Time and Entropy, 2004 Aryeh Lev Stollman 511

35 "The Argument": From Zoetrope: All Story, Vol. 6, Number 2, 2002 Rachel Kadish 523

38 "Letters from Doreen": From Temporary Sojourner and Other South African Stories, 1989 Tony Eprile 541

Appendix: History of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award 555

Contributors 559

Acknowledgments 575

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