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Jewish Noir Paperback – November 1, 2015
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Jewish Noir is a unique collection of new stories by Jewish and non-Jewish literary and genre writers, including numerous award-winning authors such as Marge Piercy, Harlan Ellison, S.J. Rozan, Nancy Richler, Moe Prager (Reed Farrel Coleman), Wendy Hornsby, Charles Ardai, and Kenneth Wishnia. The stories explore such issues as the Holocaust and its long-term effects on subsequent generations, anti-Semitism in the mid- and late-twentieth-century United States, and the dark side of the Diaspora (the decline of revolutionary fervor, the passing of generations, the Golden Ghetto, etc.). The stories in this collection also include many “teachable moments” about the history of prejudice, and the contradictions of ethnic identity and assimilation into American society.
“A Simkhe” (A Celebration), first published in Yiddish in the Forverts in 1912 by one of the great unsung writers of that era, Yente Serdatsky. This story depicts the disillusionment that sets in among a group of Russian Jewish immigrant radicals after several years in the United States. This is the story’s first appearance in English.
“Trajectories,” Marge Piercy’s story of the divergent paths taken by two young men from the slums of Cleveland and Detroit in a rapidly changing post-World War II society.
“Some You Lose,” Nancy Richler’s empathetic exploration of the emotional and psychological challenges of trying to sum up a man’s life in a eulogy.
“Her Daughter’s Bat Mitzvah,” Rabbi Adam Fisher’s darkly comic profanity-filled monologue in the tradition of Sholem Aleichem, the writer best known as the source material for Fiddler on the Roof (minus the profanity, that is).
“Flowers of Shanghai,” S.J. Rozan’s compelling tale of hope and despair set in the European refugee community of Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II.
“Yahrzeit Candle,” Stephen Jay Schwartz’s take on the subtle horrors of the inevitable passing of time.
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“Stirring. Evocative. Penetrating.”
—Elie Wiesel (on Stephen Jay Schwartz’s “Yahrzeit Candle”)
“Wishnia presents the world of Ashkenazi Jewry with a keen eye for detail. Wishnia never judges his characters, but creates three-dimensional people who live in a very dangerous world.”
—The Jewish Press on The Fifth Servant
“[Wishnia writes for] a diverse audience of intelligent readers. I predict a bright future for Kenneth Wishnia, filled with loyal readers who enjoy a serious and entertaining story. I eagerly await his next venture into any period of Jewish history.”
—Jewish Book World, on The Fifth Servant
“Wishnia’s works are addictive, thought provoking page-turners.”
About the Author
Kenneth Wishnia’s novels include 23 Shades of Black, an Edgar Allan Poe Award and Anthony Award finalist; Soft Money, a Library Journal Best Mystery of the Year; and Red House, a Washington Post “Rave” Book of the Year and The Fifth Servant, an Indie Notable selection, a Jewish Press Best Mystery of the Year, winner of a Premio Letterario ADEI-WIZO, and a finalist for the Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery Award. His short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, Queens Noir, Long Island Noir, Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail, and elsewhere. His latest novel, The Fifth Servant, was an Indie Notable selection, a Best Jewish Book of the Year according to the Association of Jewish Libraries, won a Premio Letterario ADEI-WIZO (the Italian chapter of the Women’s International Zionist Organization), and was a finalist for the Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery Award, a category of the Macavity Awards. Most recently, he edited the Anthony Award-nominated anthology Jewish Noir for PM Press. He teaches writing, literature and other deviant forms of thought at Suffolk Community College on Long Island.
- Publisher : PM Press (November 1, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 432 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1629631116
- ISBN-13 : 978-1629631110
- Item Weight : 1.03 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #433,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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It’s always difficult to write about a collection of short stories, since some can be wonderful and some… not so much. That being said, I was glad to receive Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds edited by Kenneth Wishnia in the mail, I assume because I enjoyed Mr. Wishnia’s book The Fifth Servant.
Jewish noir is a genre which I generally enjoy. The Jewish people like to think of themselves as the “chose ones”, but that title is a mixed blessing and a curse. Throughout history the Jews were haunted and hunted, a perfect fodder for noir stories (now… let’s eat).
While one would think that many of the stories deal with the Holocaust, and some do, many others do not. The stories deal with Civil Rights movement, corruption, assimilation and eve a disturbing look into child abuse with the Orthodox community.
The stories are not all new, a few are reprints such as Harlan Ellison’s “Final Schtick” (along with Ellison’s commentary) as well as Yente Serdatsky Sinkey (A Celebration). It’s interesting to read how the definition of noir changed from economic desperation and government corruption to stories about simply fitting in, belonging and all the drama and trauma that it entails.
You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this book, if you enjoy Holocaust fiction, stories of ethical dilemmas and crime fiction this book is for you. If you, like myself, enjoy dark humor, you’ll like it even more.