- Hardcover: 150 pages
- Publisher: Holmes & Meier Pub; First Edition edition (July 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0841914044
- ISBN-13: 978-0841914049
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,992,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Goodbye, Evil Eye: Stories First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
"In our house, the direct statement was seldom used as a vehicle for communication," Kirchheimer (We Were So Beloved) recalls in the preface to her collection of stories about a New York Sephardic family. "Innuendo was the order of the day." The handling of life's tribulations without talking about them challenges an immigrant couple, their Americanized children, relatives, neighbors and friends in 11 personal fictions about love, frustration, identity and tradition. The peculiar Sephardic blend of Jewish philosophy, European culture, and mysticism that survived from medieval Spain through the Ottoman Empire to the present day informs the communitiy's everyday life, as does the immigrant work ethic. In the title story, when a young man who wishes to carry on the work of the doctor-philosopher Maimonides seeks his grandfather's grave, he learns more about his own history than he anticipated. In "A Case of Dementia," a mother in the throes of rebellion calls upon her daughter to protect her from the evil eye through an old, oddly powerful ceremony. Kirchheimer depicts male egotism, family secrets, folk songs and meals in vivid detail, as in "Feast of Lights," the simple, affecting story of a Hanukkah dinner uniting three generations in a ritual of food, gifts and ruffled feelings. Demonstrating an intuitive understanding of the psychocultural traits of Jewish culture, she imbues even the most frustrating moments with tenderness. She does not probe religious or philosophical depths, focusing instead on small remnants of a long, rich heritage, in stories invested with the personal honesty and emotions only one's family can inspire.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Kirchheimer, who as Gloria Levy was a folksinger specializing in the music of the Sephardim, offers a charming first collection about Sephardic Jews often at sea in contemporary New York City.The author (co-writer, with Manfred Kirchheimer, of We Were So Beloved, 1997) knows whereof she speaks: a Sephardic Jew herself, she was raised in Washington Heights, where many of these stories are set, and the recurring theme of mothers and daughters gently battling across the generations may well be drawn from firsthand experience. In her introduction, Kirchheimer talks about the ways in which the world of the Sephardim is defined by language--French, Spanish, Turkish and, most of all, the Judeo-Spanish known as Ladino--but she could have just as easily pointed to other cultural constants such as music and cuisine. All three elements run through the volume's 11 stories. For Kirchheimer, as for so many Sephardim here who feel that American observers have slighted their contributions to Jewish culture in favor of the more visible Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi communities, the intergenerational elements of the collection are really about preserving this culture in all its diverse elements. As seriously as she takes that mission, Kirchheimer is never somber about it; on the contrary, her tone is wry and warm, and her tales generally amusing. Some readers may find the stock characters and situations repetitive--mothers are machines designed to induce feelings of guilt; fathers are unrepentant old-world benevolent despots; imagined ties to the truly glorious history of the Sephardim are found in unlikely places--but a pervasive sweetness disarms such minor misgivings.Kirchheimer assumes a certain basic knowledge of the Sephardic experience, but her fiction transcends ethnic specificity, suggesting the lighter side of acculturation for any new American. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.