Books

Why chick lit is actually chicken-soup lit

By Brigit Grant, July 23, 2009

Candace Bushnell is not Jewish. If she were, the plotlines of Sex and The City would have been very different. For one thing Carrie Bradshaw would have had a mother who hated Mr Big on sight. There would also have been arguments about Carrie’s size-zero figure (“eat something already, there’s nothing of you”) and the absence of sensible shoes in her wardrobe.

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How to die laughing

By Sophie Lewis, July 16, 2009

Build The Cranes
By Jeremy Dyson
Little, Brown, £12.99

Kneller’s Happy Campers
By Etgar Keret
Chatto & Windus, £6.99

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Snogs and a sticky snack

By Angela Kiverstein, July 16, 2009

'When you are visiting the cake shop of agony, they don’t mind what you wear in there. Most of their customers are in their jimjams. With big swollen eyes. And covered in dribble.” And so it is for love-struck Georgia Nicolson, in Are these my Basoomas I See Before Me?

(HarperCollins, £10.99) the final part of Louise Rennison’s saga of luurve, jammy dodgers and romantically-challenged kittycats.
Will teenage Georgia hang on to Italian boyfriend Massimo, or is she destined for one of the other males who has pursued her over the past nine volumes?

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Review: Now You See Him

By David Herman, July 16, 2009

Eli Gottlieb,
Serpent’s Tail, £7.99

The life of Nick Framingham, ostensible protagonist of Eli Gottlieb’s second novel, Now You see Him, is in free-fall. His best friend, Rob Castor, the golden boy who seemed to have it all, has killed his girlfriend and then killed himself; Nick’s marriage is in trouble and he’s in a dead-end job. He’s a bit young to be having a mid-life crisis but all the classic signs are there.

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Review: Journey Into The Past

By David Herman, July 9, 2009

By Stefan Zweig (trans: Anthea Bell)
Pushkin Press £7.99

One of the most exciting developments in Jewish literature in recent times has been the rediscovery of some of the great mid-20th century central European writers, including Joseph Roth, Bruno Schulz and Stefan Zweig*.

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Menaced by Mussolini

By Madeleine Kingsley, July 9, 2009

Last Train from Liguria, by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Atlantic, £12.99) is a paean for Riviera lives derailed by Mussolini, a story of long-held secrets and a governess’s heroic effort to save two half-Jewish children from the fate of most Italians registered “e” for ebreo.

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Catcher author wins ban on sequel

By Jessica Elgot, July 3, 2009

The reclusive Jewish author J D Salinger has won a battle to stop a sequel to his novel The Catcher in the Rye from being published.

The author of the sequel, Swedish writer Frederick Colting, has said the ruling is tantamount to censorship.

The sequel, 60 Years Later: Coming through the Rye, written under the pen name John David California, has already gone on sale in the UK.

The book features the hero of the novel, Holden Caulfield, escaping from an residential home when aged 76 and includes numerous other characters in the book.

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Review: The Blind Side Of The Heart

By Rebecca Abrams, July 2, 2009

By Julia Franck
Harvill Secker, £12.99

To what extent are our lives shaped by forces beyond our control? In the fictional world of Julia Franck, the answer is: almost entirely. It makes for a thoroughly dispiriting read, as we follow the life of Helene, born in the early 20th century in a provincial German town to a Jewish mother and German father, through to the aftermath of the Second World War.

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Review: Rosenfeld’s Lives

By David Herman, July 2, 2009

Steven J Zipperstein
Yale University Press, £20

‘It should have been Isaac,” said Saul Bellow when awarded the Nobel Prize. “Isaac” was his Chicago childhood friend, Isaac Rosenfeld, writer and essayist, who died tragically at 38.

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Stay cold-blooded in the sun

By Jenni Frazer, June 25, 2009

Tyro novelists are always told: “Write what you know.” Sometimes — as in experienced non-fiction writer Adam LeBor’s thoroughly enjoyable debut, the political thriller, The Budapest Protocol — this means the reader benefits from a wealth of a particular author’s experience. And Lebor’s hero Alex Farkas is, funnily enough, a British journalist based in Hungary — just like LeBor himself.

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