The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Review by Linda F. Burghardt for Jewish Book Council (NOW IN PAPERBACK)
Best-selling author Kristin Hannah is known for her mother-daughter fiction and her sensitive probing of the relationship of sisters. In The Nightingale, her twenty-first novel, she uses her considerable skill as a storyteller to transport us to France during World War II and bring us the story of Isabelle and Viann, who are sisters but not friends. The result is an epic love story and family drama that portrays two young French women who are plunged into unimaginable chaos by a country at war, yet who must find within themselves the courage to face the forces of destruction in order to keep their families together.
Writers Without Borders
BY SANDEE BRAWARSKY for The Jewish Week
Plotlines that cross over seamlessly between the U.S. and Israel.
There are the writers living in Israel, like David Grossman, Etgar Keret, Amos Oz and A.B. Yehoshua, whose Hebrew words are translated into many languages and published around the world. There are other widely published authors writing from Israel in Arabic. Then there are Israeli writers, penning their works from New York, in Hebrew, and native English speakers who have made Israel their home, writing their books in English and publishing them mostly abroad. And, just as North American Jewish writers of the last century, such as Herman Wouk, set some of their work in Israel, their contemporary counterparts are placing characters in the landscape of the Negev and the streets of Tel Aviv.
The Afterlife of Stars by Joseph Kertes
Review by Reinhild Draeger-Muenke for Jewish Book Council
I opened Joseph Kertes’ novel The Afterlife of Stars at 4:05 on a quiet Saturday afternoon, vaguely curious about the story—and finished it at 9:20 that same evening, not having paid attention to anything in the meantime excerpt the spellbinding story of the Beck family, told by its youngest member, “9.8”-year-old Robert. This unexpected level of absorption seems just about adequate to honor the emotional intensity experienced by three generations of Becks during one month in 1956. Forced to flee Budapest at the beginning of the Hungarian revolution, they make their way to Canada via Paris. (Kertes himself fled as a child in 1956 with his parents from Budapest to Canada, and one wonders how much of the events described in the novel actually happened in real life.)
9 Jewish books to read this summer
By Victor Wishna for JTA
Sure, winter might seem like the ideal time of year for curling up with a good book — but summer is when you might actually have time to read.
So before these warm months all too swiftly fade to fall, here are some Jewish-themed titles, from a wide range of genres, to fill your beach bag (or tablet) for the season.
A bonus: These works, from an international smattering of authors, are equally enjoyable while riding in an overcrowded bus on your way to work.