Post­ed by Nao­mi Firestone-Teeter

We’ve begun to notice a pat­tern in the newest fic­tion titles to cross our desk: the theme of war and extrem­ism. Each of the fol­low­ing works of fic­tion explore the real­i­ties of war, resis­tance, dic­ta­tor­ship, and extrem­ism across the globe and time. They present the philo­soph­i­cal and phys­i­cal strug­gles of indi­vid­u­als caught up in con­flict through­out dif­fer­ent points in his­to­ry. Writ­ten over the past hun­dred years, the trend begs the ques­tion: Will we ever learn? 

Judith: A Nov­el, Lawrence Dur­rell (Novem­ber 2012, Open Road Media)

Released one hun­dred years after the author’s birth, Judith is set in Pales­tine in the 1940s on the eve of Britain’s with­draw­al. Find out more about Dur­rell here

Igno­rance: A Nov­elMichèle Roberts (Jan­u­ary 2013, Blooms­bury USA)
Roberts, who was short­list­ed for the Man Book­er Prize, tells the sto­ry of two women in wartime France, as they strug­gle with guilt, faith, and desire. 

The Zel­menyan­ers: A Fam­i­ly Saga, Moyshe Kul­bak; Hil­lel Halkin, trans. (Jan­u­ary 2013, Yale Uni­ver­si­ty Press)
Writ­ten in Yid­dish between 1929 and 1935, Kul­bak tells the sto­ry of a Jew­ish fam­i­ly in Min­sk as they cope with the new Sovi­et real­i­ty. This title is a part of Yale Uni­ver­si­ty Press’s New Yid­dish Library Series.

The Fall of the Stone City, Ismail Kadare (Feb­ru­ary 2013, Grove Press)
Set in Alba­nia in 1943, Gjirokastër is the first town in the warpath of Nazi troops invad­ing Alba­nia. Inter­min­gling Balkan leg­end with recent Alba­nia his­to­ry, Kadare tells a tale of dic­ta­tor­ship, resis­tance, and magic. 

The Want­i­ng: A Nov­el, Michael Lav­i­gne (Feb­ru­ary 2013, Schock­en Books)
The long-await­ed sec­ond nov­el from Sami Rohr Prize Choice Award recip­i­ent Michael Lav­i­gne. Michael’s new nov­el fol­lows Roman Guttman, a Russ­ian-born post­mod­ern archi­tect who is injured in a bus bomb­ing, as he jour­neys into Pales­tin­ian ter­ri­to­ry. Roman’s sto­ry alter­nates with the diary of his thir­teen-year-old daugh­ter, Anyusha, and is enriched by flash­backs of Anyusha’s moth­er’s life, a famous Russ­ian refusenik who died for her beliefs. 




Orig­i­nal­ly from Lan­cast­er, Penn­syl­va­nia, Nao­mi is the exec­u­tive direc­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil. She grad­u­at­ed from Emory Uni­ver­si­ty with degrees in Eng­lish and Art His­to­ry and, in addi­tion, stud­ied at Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege Lon­don. Pri­or to her role as exec­u­tive direc­tor, Nao­mi served as the found­ing edi­tor of the JBC web­site and blog and man­ag­ing edi­tor of Jew­ish Book World. In addi­tion, she has over­seen JBC’s dig­i­tal ini­tia­tives, and also devel­oped the JBC’s Vis­it­ing Scribe series and Unpack­ing the Book: Jew­ish Writ­ers in Conversation.