Shake­speare’s Kitchen

Lore Segal
  • Review
By – December 12, 2011

For those of us who have wait­ed patient­ly for Lore Segal’s next offer­ing, Shakespeare’s Kitchen is a won­der­ful reward; for read­ers new to her work, it will be a rev­e­la­tion. These thir­teen close­ly inter-relat­ed sto­ries, sev­en of which appeared pre­vi­ous­ly in The New York­er, are wise, sub­tle, tren­chant, and full of surprises. 

Although the nar­ra­tive style is straight­for­ward, even plain, the sto­ries car­ry real heft, eg., The Reverse Bug,” which begins with charm­ing mul­ti-eth­nic humor, and builds to the hor­rors of the Holo­caust. Reluc­tant­ly leav­ing her New York life to accept a fac­ul­ty posi­tion at a Con­necti­cut think tank, Ilka, pro­tag­o­nist of Segal’s ear­ly nov­el, Her First Amer­i­can, must reach out to form new friend­ships. Her warm accep­tance by Leslie Shake­speare, Dean of the Insti­tute, and his mer­cu­r­ial wife, Eliza, facil­i­tates Ilka’s advance­ment into the strat­i­fied soci­ety of fac­ul­ty, junior and senior, sup­port staff, even an elu­sive Nobel Laureate. 

By Yom Kip­pur Card,” the cul­mi­nat­ing sto­ry, its author has weighed in on pow­er, ambi­tion, love, sex, moth­er­hood, aging and death, among oth­er grand themes. This stun­ning col­lec­tion finds Lore Segal at the height of her impres­sive powers. 

Judith Felsen­feld book of short fic­tion, Blaustein’s Kiss, was pub­lished in April, 2014. Her sto­ries have appeared in numer­ous mag­a­zines and lit­er­ary reviews, includ­ing The Chica­go Review, The South­west Review, Blue Mesa, and broad­cast nation­wide on NPR’s Select­ed Shorts.

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