Nine Folds Make a Paper Swan by Ruth Gilli­gan is about a fam­i­ly of Irish Jews over three gen­er­a­tions, writ­ten by a young writer who became fas­ci­nat­ed with the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence in Ire­land when she was in school at Cam­bridge and became close friends with Jew­ish stu­dents. Before com­ing across the Irish Sea, she had no idea there even were Irish Jews!


Two She-Bears, Meir Shalev’s newest nov­el, is a com­plex and raw book that con­tin­ues to get bet­ter and bet­ter the fur­ther you read.


Karolina’s Twins was a book that I could not put down. It is a sto­ry of life, sur­vival and love. It is also a sto­ry of a promise that must be kept, no mat­ter the cost and the dark hor­ri­ble mem­o­ries that it may bring. Lena Wood­ward, a sur­vivor of the Holo­caust, has lived with an awful mem­o­ry of what hap­pened to twin girls that were born dur­ing the worst of times and what it took to sur­vive the atroc­i­ties of the Holo­caust. Lena hires an inves­ti­ga­tor and lawyer to help her find the twins from her past at the same moment her son presents her with a law­suit to take over her estate and her inde­pen­dence in the present. This sto­ry takes us through bond of friend­ship of the past, the secret that has been lived with and how they come to terms with it all.


The Gold­en Age by Joan Lon­don is told from the per­spec­tive of Frank, a Jew­ish teenag­er who escaped World War II with his fam­i­ly and was hos­pi­tal­ized for polio soon after they set­tled in Aus­tralia. This very per­son­al and diverse fic­tion­al nar­ra­tive is very well writ­ten: I’m enjoy­ing the nov­el because it incor­po­rates a fam­i­ly immi­grant sto­ry with the expe­ri­ence of a lovelorn, dis­abled teen — and his let­ters and poetry. 


I just start­ed read­ing Mur­der, Inc. and the Moral Life: Gang­sters and Gang­busters in La Guardia’s New York by Robert Wel­don Whalen.
The book has been very eye-open­ing for me in terms of how a series of tri­als in 1940 and 1941 con­tin­ues to influ­ence Amer­i­can cin­e­ma, tele­vi­sion, lit­er­a­ture, and pop­u­lar cul­ture today — and the eth­i­cal imprints and impli­ca­tions of that fas­ci­na­tion. It’s a sol­id piece of schol­ar­ship, but the writ­ing flows very well, and I’m find­ing this work of non­fic­tion a thor­ough­ly engag­ing and acces­si­ble read. I also have my nose in Against Every­thing, a col­lec­tion of essays by Mark Greif. It opens with the claim that if Kafka’s In the Penal Colony” were writ­ten today, it would be about an exer­cise machine — a notion that res­onates with me on many dif­fer­ent levels.




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