Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg (Serpent's Tail £12.99) is a heart-wringing novel inspired by an essay called Mazie in Joseph Mitchell's celebrated book of New York stories, Up in the Old Hotel. Attenberg's wondrous imagination breathes real life into the histories of people who have vanished into the past; the homeless, hungry victims of the Great Depression.
The daring rescue of nearly 100 hostages by Israeli special forces from Entebbe International Airport, Uganda, in 1976 marked a watershed in the global fight against terrorism and a turning-point for Israel, too. Until then, plane hijackings, pioneered by the Palestinians and enthusiastically taken up by sympathetic terrorist groups, were rife and usually successful.
To amplify Ecclesiastes, "Of making many books about Israel there is no end". Reading this latest addition to the plethora, from Leslie Stein, I had the vague feeling that perhaps I had reviewed a previous book of his.
As he lay dying, Saul Bellow asked a friend: "Was I a man or a jerk?" The case for the prosecution would argue he had five marriages, four ending in divorce, numerous affairs, and was too self-absorbed to be much of a father. "He had a biblical Old World morality," said one woman who encountered him, "but his fly was entirely unzipped at all times."
J onathan Sacks's splendid new book moves on three levels - a socio-political, explanatory level; a level of textual exegesis; and a philosophical-ethical level. In the first part, he mainly offers a theory about the roots of religious and other forms of social violence.
I must start by declaring an interest. It was Oliver Sacks's mother, Muriel Elsie Landau, who helped bring me into the world. One of the first female surgeons in England, her special expertise was in obstetrics and gynaecology while she also found time to be an active Zionist and to work for many Jewish causes. "Miss Landau" was a name I learned to revere as a child.
There is a growing genre of children's fiction about the Holocaust. In the past 10 years or so, we have had huge best-sellers like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief and John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Now we have Jim Shepard's The Book of Aron (Quercus, £18.99).
When Keren David set out to write This is Not a Love Story (Atom, £6.99), her intention was "to write a book about mainstream Anglo-Jewish teenagers because there weren't any in the books I read when I was growing up, and hadn't been any since. We talk a lot about diversity in children's books and this was a glaring absence."