The Quo­rum

  • Review
By – May 25, 2012
Cohen explores the theme of dis­lo­ca­tion in his debut col­lec­tion of short sto­ries. The struc­ture of the sto­ries reflects the con­tent: Cohen drops read­ers in the mid­dle of the action and then pro­vides some sign­posts to guide them out. His post-Shoah world con­stant­ly shifts, and even lan­guage lacks per­ma­nence. Cohen presents word­less books and Torah scrolls inked in the air, the sui­cide note of a col­lec­tor of apho­risms and some words of a lan­guage that died with its last speak­er, a bed sales­man. The char­ac­ters inspire curios­i­ty, but Cohen’s writer­ly dis­tance pre­vents the devel­op­ment of emo­tion­al con­nec­tions to them.
Martha Sparks is a Ph.D. stu­dent in clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gy. She lives and stud­ies in New Jersey.

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