From Publishers Weekly
Readers combing through this anthology can expect a rich assortment of 24 fanciful short stories, with just a few duds. All of the stories are "fabulist" that is, they cull from magical realism in the style of Gabriel Garc¡a M rquez. In Joe Hill's delightfully creative "Pop Art," readers learn the sad story of a boy whose best friend is, due to a birth defect, inflatable; he can't talk, and his very life is threatened by sharp branches, fork tines and other objects that might puncture him. In a tale that suggests what would have happened had Sholem Aleichem ever traveled to the American South, Steve Stern tells the saga of a flying rebbe from Tennessee. Fans who couldn't get enough of Like Water for Chocolate will relish Argentinean author Daniel Ulanovsky Sack's tale "Home Cooking." However, the collection, like most, is uneven. "Tsuris" (trouble), the tale of a quarrelsome student who demands his rabbi explain the dinosaurs, is flat and ill-suited to this anthology: the fabulist transformation here is simply that the student grows attentive. But on the whole, the quirky characters are captivating. Who can forget the curious Siamese twins who complete a minyan in American Joan Leegant's story "The Tenth"? Or Portuguese writer Moacyr Scliar's protagonist Benjamin Bok, whose various body parts are taken over by prophets? This creative collection is distinguished by its imaginative stories and international flavor.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Jaffe (UCLA Extension-Online), a short story writer, essayist, and translator, has collected a group of contemporary Jewish fabulist fiction. The 25 stories are written in seven different languages and come from many countries and cultures, among them Brazil, the United States, Israel, Russia, and Mexico. Biblical themes and modern despair are resolved in many of the stories by kabbalistic insight and reconciliation. A feminist strain, championing women's freedom to explore the world, also runs through the selections. Jaffe's introduction sets the tone and places the stories in literary context. Joe Hill's "Pop Art," a story of love and friendship, is brilliantly imagined. In "Rochel Eisips," Teresa Porzecanski (a writer from Uruguay) writes of loss, memory, and the unity of the Jewish people. Cyille Fleischman's "One Day, Victor Hugo..." is a charming short fable on life's meaning, and Yakov Shechter's "Midday" is a mystical meditation on political assassination. A diverse and imaginative group of stories, recommended for Jewish studies collections. Gene Shaw, NYPL
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Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.