Books

Off with the motley

By John Nathan, January 17, 2011

I Must Collect Myself
By Maureen Lipman
Simon & Schuster, £18.99

A Still Untitled (Not Quite) Autobiography
By Ron Moody
JR Books, £18.99

Although both of these books, by two of Britain's best-loved Jewish comedy actors, are autobiographical, neither is your classically constructed life story.

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Review: All Men Are Liars

By Natasha Lehrer, January 17, 2011

Alberto Manguel (Trans Miranda France)
Alma Books, £12.99

It is a rare pleasure to come across a literary, self-reflective novel that consciously explores the treacherous nature of language and writing, while delivering the less intellectual but no less important pleasures that come from reading a thrilling detective story.

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Hebrew Poems and Translations

By Nicholas de Lange, January 10, 2011

By Raphael Loewe
Society of Heshaim, Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation
2 Ashworth Road, London W9 1JY
£30 (plus £4.50 p&p)

It was at the twice-yearly meetings of the Hebrew Translation Workshop, which he founded in 1971 and presided over with a benign and somewhat schoolmasterly air for the 35 years of its existence, that I encountered Raphael Loewe as a translator and sat at his feet.

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Review: The Memory Chalet

By Anthony Rudolf, January 10, 2011

By Tony Judt
William Heinemann, £16.99

Tony Judt was a brilliant historian of the European left, a social democrat, and a Jewish intellectual in the great dafka tradition. His later views on Israel were controversial and radical (the one-state solution) but they were thought through and he retained an open mind.

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Review: Life is a Joke

By Madeleine Kingsley, December 31, 2010

By Rosemary Friedman
Arcadia, £11.99

Nabokov envisaged life as "a great surprise", Lewis Carroll deemed it "but a dream". At 81, Rosemary Friedman suggests in her memoir that it is a joke borrowing W. S. Gilbert's line to infer that amusement and advancing age are by no means mutually exclusive.

Friedman (one of our most deft and durable novelists) sketches pensionable years (as if with a very literary eyebrow raised at their relentless drollery) that are still shared with her lifelong love, eminent-psychiatrist husband Dennis and pass in material comfort.

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Nadine Gordimer: Life Times: Stories 1952-2007

By Eva Tucker, December 30, 2010

By Rosemary Friedman
Bloomsbury £30

Nadine Gordimer, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, devotes most of the 38 stories in this volume to a multi-faceted exploration of the coarsening effects apartheid had on black, coloured and white people alike. Yet, however fraught the situation, she never allows the political to obscure the personal - someone always remembers milk for the cat.

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Review: Kapitoil

By Peter Moss, December 28, 2010

New York, 1999. The Twin Towers are still twins… and towers. Out of the elevator and on to the 88th floor steps a young Muslim, hero of Kapitoil, by Teddy Wayne (Duckworth, £8.99) He is soon to make his mark on the USA - not in ways more stereotypically associated with his brethren, but by intellect alone.

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Review: Thirty Four

By Gilead Sher, December 22, 2010

By William Hastings Burke
Wolfgeist Limited, £14.99

Ever since Cain and Abel, there have been siblings who have behaved in totally opposite ways, but surely none as dramatically as Hermann and Albert Goering.

Hermann Goering was Hitler's second-in-command and an architect of the "final solution". His brother Albert was a passionate anti-Nazi who risked his life to save Jews. As Richard Sonnenfeldt (a leading interpreter at the Nuremberg trials) put it: "one brother destroyed the world and the other bettered it."

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Years of Persecution, Years of Extermination. Saul Friedländer and the Future of Holocaust Studies.

By David Cesarani, December 22, 2010

Christian Wiese and Paul Betts (Eds)
Continuum, £22.39

With Nazi Germany and the Jews, volume one, The Years of Persecution, 1933-1939 (1997) and volume two, The Years of Extermination 1939-45 (2007), Saul Friedländer established himself as the greatest living historian of the period. In addition to synthesising a mountain of research into a lucid narrative he established the viability of an approach that integrates the voices of Jewish victims.

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Saul Bellow: Letters

By David Herman, December 20, 2010

Editied by Benjamin Taylor
Viking, £30

In the best essay ever written on Saul Bellow, Philip Roth wrote that his friend "managed brilliantly to close the gap between Thomas Mann and Damon Runyon". Bellow indeed brought together the teeming, busy world of post-war America, with its wise-guys, money men and "reality instructors", and the high seriousness of old Europe.

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