Books

Reckless moves

By Joy Sable, February 8, 2013

What’s a nice Jewish girl doing in a city like Tehran? That’s precisely where Clair Symonds found herself after winning a place in Iran’s national ballet company. Yes, Iran actually had its own classical company in the years before the coming of the Ayatollah Khomeini and his strict Muslim regime saw its demise.

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City reveals hidden gems

By Stoddard Martin, February 1, 2013

The wife of the Lord Mayor of London introduces this book. She tells how Harold Samuel became Britain’s “first post-war millionaire” by building up Land Securities partly through acquisition of bomb-sites whose attraction was “location, location, location”.

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Who is abuser, who is abused?

By Madeleine Kingsley, February 1, 2013

From the very first page of Alessandro Piperno’s second novel, you know that dark times will deluge Leo Pontecorvo, an eminent paediatric oncologist: a family dinner at his stylish Roman villa is besmirched by a TV news item, insinuating that this dashing Jewish saviour of sick children has seduced a 12-year-old girl, a friend of his own son.

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Win tickets to Jewish Book Week

January 31, 2013

Jewish Book Week — London’s biggest international literary festival — starts on February 23. Highlights this year include discussions with historian Simon Schama and former Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and sessions featuring novelists A B Yehoshua and Francesca Segal.
Now you have the chance to win tickets to a choice of Book Week events.

Simply answer the question:

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Perfectly formed fiction

By David Herman, January 25, 2013

The golden age of Jewish American literature began with a short story: In Dreams Begin Responsibilities by Delmore Schwartz. Since then, from Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus and Bellow’s Mosby’s Memoirs to Cynthia Ozick and Grace Paley, the short story has arguably been the great Jewish American literary genre.

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Nourishing tale of food, inglorious food

By Natasha Lehrer, January 25, 2013

Edie Middlestein is eating herself to death.

When we first meet Edie she is five years old, “disarmingly solid”, with an appetite for “salty liverwurst and red onion on warm rye bread.” Sixty years later, she is morbidly obese and diabetic.

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Celestial resistance

By Dan Cohn-Sherbok, January 25, 2013

In his monumental and ground-breaking 'Music and the Spiritual: Composers and Politics in the 20th Century, (Ziggurat Books, £14.95), Antony Copley provides a panoramic study of seminal 20th-century musicians who sought to express the spiritual within the dehumanising confines of Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism.

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Begin from the beginning

By David J Goldberg, January 18, 2013

This biography of the most reviled and simultaneously idolised of Israeli politicians was published in Hebrew five years ago. Now stodgily translated into English and carelessly edited, at the end of its 588 pages of text and copious notes it leaves the reader little clearer about what made Begin tick.

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Ghost-writing, neurological style

By Stephen Frosh, January 18, 2013

With the relentless rise of neuroscience, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold on to the complexity of subjective experience. If we can show that seeing unknown people by the bedside, or hearing voices in an empty room, is caused by damage to the brain, then, one could ask, is that not enough?

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Death on the A20

By Simon Round, January 18, 2013

At noon on October 31 1946, the body of a 48-year-old woman, Dagmar Petrzywalski, was found by the side of the A20 in Kent. She had been strangled by Sidney Sinclair, a lorry driver from whom she had hitched a lift early that morning on the way to visit her sister.

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