Books

Village that defied the Nazis

By Simon Round, August 28, 2014

In the catalogue of genocide and barbarism that was the Holocaust there were heartwarming instances of people and communities risking their lives to rescue Jews. One thinks of the rescue of Danish Jews, the work of Oskar Schindler and many other cases of individual bravery.

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Out of Africa: physical and mental border crossings

By Charlotte Oliver, July 24, 2014

Zebra Crossing
By Meg Vandermerwe
Oneworld, £10.99

After Before
By Jemma Wayne
Legend Press, £7.99

Haunting and multi-layered, Zebra Crossing and After Before are both novels that will linger long in the memory after reading. Fitting perhaps, then, that their protagonists are stalked by shadows of unhappy pasts and uncertain futures.

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Village of Secrets: Defying the Nazis in Vichy France

By Anne Sebba, July 10, 2014

By Caroline Moorehead

Chatto & Windus, £20

As the Second World War ended and the various welfare organisations took stock of the tragedy that had overtaken Nazi-occupied France, they estimated there were some 5,000-6,000 Jewish children who were now orphans, whether hidden in non-Jewish homes around France or over the border in Spain or Switzerland.

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Review: American Innovations

By Madeleine Kingsley, July 10, 2014

By Rivka Galchen
4th Estate, £14.99

This collection of short stories will shake your expectations of the little-gem fictional form. The American Innovations of Rivka Galchen, Oklahoma-raised daughter of Israeli immigrants, are as original, particular and digressive as her provenance. They deliver a delicious blend of desolation and deadpan, laugh-aloud drollery.

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Uncivil War: the israel conflict in th e Jewish community

By Simon Rocker, June 6, 2014

By Keith Kahn-Harris
David Paul, £10

Between 2009 and 2011, the sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris hosted more than a dozen dinner parties at his London home that were more than just social occasions; they were intended as an experiment in dialogue.

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Review: The Pat Boone Fan Club

By Clive Sinclair, June 6, 2014

By Sue William Silverman
University of Nebraska Press, £11.99

Ms Silverman is a fan of 1950s pop star Pat Boone, and a lover of words (we learn how she French-kisses an early amour "ventriloquist", "twisting the letters around my tongue"). What she doesn't like could fill a book: more than one, in fact.

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Ayelet Waldman: a mother's tale

By Sipora Levy, May 23, 2014

Ayelet Waldman seems to have it all. Not only has she had two successful careers — first as a defence lawyer and now as an acclaimed writer — but she has also enjoyed a long and happy marriage to the Pulitzer prizewinning novelist Michael Chabon, with whom she has four beautiful children.

Yet, in Bad Mother, she sets out to describe her imperfections.

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A better mother than a writer?

By David Herman, May 23, 2014

Love and Treasure author Ayelet Waldman has written seven mystery novels, The Mommy-Track Mysteries, and three other works of fiction but is probably best known for Bad Mother, which set off a lively controversy when first published in the US in 2009.

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Maths made interesting, even for the number-phobic

By Simon Round, May 23, 2014

What is your favourite number? Statistically, it is likely to be 7, according to research by Alex Bellos, the author of this follow-up to his popular book on maths, Alex in Numberland.

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Bernard Kops - not just an East End chronicler

By Jeremy Solomons, May 16, 2014

Bernard Kops, who is now 87, is best known as a vivid chronicler of the Jewish East End. But, in Bernard Kops: Fantasist, London Jew, Apocalyptic Humorist (Rowman & Littlefield, £39.95) William Baker and Jeanette Roberts Shumaker offer a view of the vast range of a fearless, fascinating writer.

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