Books

Book Week boss accuses Edinburgh event of bias

By Shelly Paz, June 20, 2008

Jewish Book Week director Geraldine D’Amico has expressed disappointment that the Edinburgh International Book Festival plans to mark Israel’s 60th anniversary by focusing on the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, the Palestinian term for the creation of Israel.

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Healing the ‘painful verses’

June 13, 2008

A new book by a rabbi, an imam and a priest tries to explain controversial verses in their holy books that have offended other faiths. Published in French, Les Versets Douloureux [“The Painful Verses”] was co-authored by Rabbi David Mayer, Sohaib Bencheikh and Reverend Yves Simoens.

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Review: To This Day

By David Herman, June 13, 2008

By SY Agnon (trans: Hillel Halkin)
The Toby Press, £14.99

The last novel written by SY Agnon, doyen of Israeli literature and Nobel laureate, is finally available in English

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Review: The Saladin Murders

By Jenni Frazer, June 13, 2008

By Matt Rees
Atlantic, £11.99

Morse, Rebus... and now Yussef,” raved The Observer in its assessment of Matt Rees’s first foray into fiction, The Bethlehem Murders (now available as a £6.99 paperback). I can’t say I agreed with The Observer then, but on the basis of his second novel, The Saladin Murders, Rees’s hero, Omar Yussef, is becoming more and more likeable — even if no better as a detective.

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Review: Beaufort

By Miriam Shaviv, June 13, 2008

By Ron Leshem
Harvill Secker, £12.99

For a country so dominated by conflict, Israel has produced remarkably little literature about its wars. Only two major books have been written about the near-defeat of 1973, for example. And Beaufort, Ron Leshem’s powerful book about the retreat from Lebanon in 2000, was rejected by several publishers. He was repeatedly told that the public was not ready to confront this traumatic episode in its recent history.

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When blame hits history

By Geoffrey Alderman, June 6, 2008

Journey to Nowhere
By Eva Figes
Granta, £14.99

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Wonder boy - and author

By Francesca Segal, June 6, 2008

Howard McNamee, the Glaswegian protagonist of The Truth About These Strange Times by Adam Foulds (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £12.99), is 28, overweight and a towel collector in a gym. Until his mother’s recent death, he lived with her and now returns home each night to talk to her, addressing the clothes hanging in her wardrobe.

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Review: Waltenberg

By David Herman, June 6, 2008

By Hedi Kaddour (Trans: David Coward)
Harvill Secker, £20

Part spy-thriller, part novel of ideas, Hedi Kaddour’s huge, ambitious novel takes on the history of the 20th century, from the First World War to 1991. It tells the epic story of the dream of Communism and its failure through the lives of a group of French and German intellectuals, some of whom turn out to be spies. Being a French novel, though, it is as interested in discussing Flaubert and Marx as it is in espionage.

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Review: On The Other Hand

By Jeremy Isaacs, May 30, 2008

By Chaim Bermant
Vallentine Mitchell, £17.95

Chaim Bermant, who died 10 years ago, wrote a weekly column for the Jewish Chronicle for more than 30 years. One of the most admired journalists of his time, he was looked up to not only in Furnival Street but also in Fleet Street.

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I'm happy to be mummy's boy

By Simon Round, May 30, 2008

William Sutcliffe is a novelist concerned to celebrate an important relationship

William Sutcliffe is not anticipating a call from the compilers of the Man Booker Prize shortlist for his new novel, Whatever Makes You Happy (Bloomsbury £10.99). “If you are writing about young people, you are disqualified from every literary prize,” Sutcliffe claims. “You are also disqualified if you are funny, use lots of dialogue, or write about contemporary Britain — everything I tend to do.”

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