Viennese Comedy puts Freud on the couch

By Jonathan Beckman, May 25, 2012

In Joseph Skibell’s new novel, Dr Jakob Sammelsohn, an impoverished ophthalmologist in Vienna with a non-existent sex life, falls in love with a woman he sees at the theatre. In the play’s interval, he engineers a conversation with her companion, who, it transpires, is Sigmund Freud.


Chasidic woman's flight from New York Orthodox life

By Miriam Shaviv, May 25, 2012

Unorthodox is an account of Deborah Feldman’s Chasidic upbringing in New York, her unhappiness at what she sees as her oppression, and ultimately her escape into secular society. Inevitably, the Satmar community in which Feldman grew up has responded aggressively, accusing her of mistakes, omissions and outright lies.


Children's books: butterflies, cakes and Horrid Henry's Jubilee moment

By Angela Kiverstein, May 22, 2012

Butterflies represent the souls of the dead, according to the ancient Greeks. And lepidopterous lore becomes a fascination for 12-year-old Becky in Butterfly Summer, by Anne-Marie Conway (Usborne, £5.99). Becky spends her days by the lake in the village butterfly garden, where she makes a new friend, Rosa May.


Uneven chick lit romance but Oprah Winfrey liked it

By David Herman, May 22, 2012

On Page 273, one character picks up a book, “a romance novel, one of seven she has brought. She consumes one every two days.” The Grief of Others is itself one part romance novel, two parts chick lit. It includes three affairs, two unwanted pregnancies, one runaway child, numerous dead parents and siblings, a miscarriage and a brief moment of soft-core incest. All in 370 pages.


Alice Herz-Sommer: the pianist who's a true survivor

By Amos Witztum, May 22, 2012

Alice Herz-Sommer is 108 years old. She is a true survivor of the 20th century.


Italian menu you can get your teeth into

By Simon Round, May 10, 2012

There is more madness and beauty in David Winner's new exploration of his adopted city than there is food.


On the shelf: Bleak aftermath

May 10, 2012

Savage Continent is Keith Lowe's revealing and comprehensive account of the ravaged state of Europe in the wake of the Second World War. Lowe shows how the "peace", for many, was anything but. The continent was blighted by starvation, poverty, violence and lawlessness. The book paints a vivid picture of the rocky road that eventually led to stability.


How history can sound sweeter

By Daniel Snowman, May 10, 2012

Jewry in Music: Entry to the profession from the enlightenment to Richard WagnerBy David Conway
Cambridge University Press, £60

The Music Libel against the Jews
By Ruth HaCohen
Yale University Press, £40

Music wars 1937-45
By Patrick Bade
East& West Publishing, £25

Why were there so many prominent Jewish musicians in Europe from around the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries?


The Innocents

By Jennifer Lipman, May 3, 2012

Writing about Jewish life - particularly within nosey, insular, North-West London - is an unenviable task.


You Are Not likeother mothers

By Julia Neuberger, May 3, 2012

This is an extraordinary book. More autobiography than novel much of the time, it has a fictional twist. The fictional Angelika was born in Germany, and spent the war in Bulgaria, just as the writer did, and returned to Germany in 1947, as the writer did, too.

This is the author's story.