Birth, death and music

By David Herman, September 21, 2012

Michael Chabon is best known for two novels — The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union — which brought together modern Jewish history and American popular culture.


Sad and lonely basket cases

By David Herman, September 14, 2012

At first glance, these books seem very similar. Both are about groups of men — a team of Jewish basketball players travelling across America and six men who meet regularly in a London gym — sad, lonely men lifted by comradeship. But it is the differences which are more intriguing.


Civilisation's alternative roots

By David Conway, September 14, 2012

In asking the question, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?”, the third-century theologian, Tertullian, dismissed the entire corpus of ancient Greek literature. So effective was the question that, within a couple of centuries, Plato’s Academy was shut and familiarity with Greek language and literature lost to Europe for more than a millennium.


Frank and fearless

By Anne Sebba, September 7, 2012

In January 1943, a 22-year-old British officer gave a talk to entertain his men as the unit idled in the desert. The topic was “Occupied Europe”, with accounts of collaboration, resistance and murder in 15 countries, about which British newspapers said little.


Man behind this year's stand-out novel

By David Herman, September 7, 2012

You wanted to put cotton wool around them, to protect them”. The atmosphere in the room has changed. Elliot Perlman is suddenly speaking with great intensity and feeling as he remembers the Holocaust survivors he knew in Melbourne, where he grew up in the 1960s and ’70s. The Holocaust is the subject of his outstanding novel, The Street Sweeper, published earlier this year.


Words that flow like wine

By Clive Sinclair, September 7, 2012

When it comes to writers, Czernowitz — first Austro-Hungarian, then Romanian, now Ukrainian — surely merits its own Appellation d’origine contrôlée. There must be something in its terroir that causes (or caused) it to produce so many great novelists and poets: Aharon Appelfeld, Norman Manea, Dan Pagis, Paul Celan; not to mention Gregor von Rezzori.


Digging for Diamonds and other gems in the Garden

By Natasha Lehrer, August 31, 2012

In June 1940, a small boy and several members of his extended family — parents, uncles, aunts and cousins —– were bound by ship for England, on the run from occupied Belgium.


Three-for-two kills off words of worth

By Kate Saunders, August 31, 2012

Guy Ableman is a moderately successful novelist. Before he started to write novels, he was working in his mother’s designer boutique in Wilmslow, and it was here that he fell under the spell of Poppy and Vanessa, a beautiful mother and daughter who could pass as sisters.


How to get ahead in the media, like Eliane Glaser

By David J Goldberg, August 23, 2012

Memo to any bright, ambitious, young person keen to make their way in the “meeja”. First, pick a topic ripe for easy demolition, such as the way in which TV, the press, PR, advertising, politics and big business all use spin, persuasion and distorted reality to influence our lives:


Moshe Dayan: From bed to battlefield

By Ahron Bregman, August 23, 2012

I first heard Moshe Dayan’s name when I was nine. It was June 1 1967. Israel was surrounded by Arab armies poised to attack. And it was my birthday. My dad gave me a big hug and said: “Son, the state of Israel has given you a birthday present — they’ve just nominated Moshe Dayan to the post of Defence Minister!”