Fic­tion

The Bible of Dirty Jokes

  • From the Publisher
March 29, 2018

In The Bible of Dirty Jokes, Eileen Pol­lack (Break­ing and Enter­ing, A Per­fect Life) brings to life the hilar­i­ous and mov­ing his­to­ry of Borscht Belt com­e­dy, Catskills resorts, and the noto­ri­ous Jew­ish mob, Mur­der Inc. In a nov­el that reads like a cross between The Sopra­nos and a Sarah Sil­ver­man spe­cial, Pol­lack bestows on Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture a pro­tag­o­nist for the ages, the wise­crack­ing, star­ry-eyed, end­less­ly gen­er­ous and for­giv­ing Ket­zel Wein­rach. On a reel­ing, round­about hunt for her beloved broth­er, Pot­sie, who has gone miss­ing in Las Vegas, she finds her­self in ever weird­er and more unnerv­ing loca­tions. She uncov­ers dark fam­i­ly secrets, buried bod­ies, and repressed mem­o­ries and comes to see her failed com­e­dy career and her decep­tion-rid­dled mar­riage to the late Morty Tit­tel­man, self-styled pro­fes­sor of dirty jokes and erot­ic folk­lore, in new and won­der­ful ways. Pol­lack­’s most inven­tive book yet, The Bible of Dirty Jokes com­bines her wry, empa­thet­ic com­men­tary on con­tem­po­rary Amer­i­ca with her gift for com­ic about-turns. Part risqué roman­tic romp, part mur­der mys­tery, this big-heart­ed, provoca­tive book refus­es to sit qui­et­ly in the cor­ner; its hero­ine per­sists through strip clubs, secret New Jer­sey lock­ers, and ware­hous­es of ill-got­ten Rat Pack arti­facts. The way ahead is far from pret­ty, and Ket­zel does­n’t emerge unscathed. But as we trav­el by her side, we end up one step clos­er to the answer to the eter­nal ques­tion: Can a woman tell a dirty joke with­out the joke being on her?

Discussion Questions