Review: The Dogs And The Wolves

By Anne Garvey, October 22, 2009

By Irène Némirovsky
Chatto & Windus, £16.99

Between the dogs and the wolves at twilight, according to a French saying, there is no discernible difference. But in this mordant, merciless portrayal of the contrasting lives of rich and poor Jews, the difference between them is akin to heaven and hell.


Review: All Other Nights

By Miriam Shaviv, October 22, 2009

By Dara Horn
Old Street Publishing, £11.99

Inside a barrel in the bottom of a boat, with a canteen of water wedged between his legs and a packet of poison concealed in his pocket, Jacob Rappaport felt a knot tightening in his stomach — not because he was about to do something dangerous, but because he was about to do something wrong.” It is a terrific first line, and as it progresses, Dara Horn’s new novel gets more gripping — both as a straightforward thriller and as a novel of ideas.


Jews in unlikely places

By Geoffrey Alderman, October 15, 2009

By Tony Kushner
Manchester University Press, £60

Is it possible to write a history of Anglo-Jewry in which the Jews of London and Manchester occupy the periphery, while Jewish communities in much smaller provincial centres take centre-stage?


Review: The Apple in the Dark

By Mark Glanville, October 15, 2009

By Clarice Lispector
Haus, £12.99

Thanks to Benjamin Moser’s recent biography (reviewed in the JC of September 4), Clarice Lispector is finally on the English-speaking map. The distinguished translator Gregory Rabassa’s new version of her fourth novel, The Apple in the Dark, gives us the opportunity to assess the work of a woman acclaimed as one of the most important Brazilian novelists of the 20th century.


Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and culture in all its moods

By Dovid Katz, October 8, 2009

By Michael Wex
Souvenir Press, £18.99

Some academics have been complaining about Born to Kvetch. This is, after all, a book that has zero inhibition regarding vulgarity. It is, moreover, quite politically incorrect and provocative.


Review: Kissinger's year: 1973

By Robert Low, October 8, 2009

By Alistair Horne
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £20

As he contemplated the arrival of 1973, Henry Kissinger could be forgiven for thinking of himself as the Master of the Universe. Although still only President Richard Nixon’s national security adviser, not yet Secretary of State, he was the unquestioned architect and executor of American foreign policy.


Review: Muriel Spark: The Biography

By Gabriel Josipovici, October 1, 2009

By Martin Stannard
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25

For almost half a century, from 1957 to 1902, the novels of Muriel Spark lit up the lives of those of us who loved her work. Combining, like Stravinsky and Picasso, the profoundly serious and the exquisitely light, instant accessibility and constant formal inventiveness, she was indeed a rare bird in the sky of late-20th century culture.


Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Refutations, Revisions

By Colin Shindler, October 1, 2009

By Avi Shlaim
Verso, £16.99

In this interesting collection of past writings, Avi Shlaim emotionally takes the side of the Palestinians, yet intellectually and rationally views the conflict as a clash between two national movements. While this balance is maintained in his earlier work, more recent writings are coloured by selective outrage.


Rick Gekoski: The Jewish Bill Bryson

By Simon Round, October 1, 2009

He is an expatriate American who sports a beard and glasses and who enjoys writing humorously on serious subjects — but he is not Bill Bryson.

Rick Gekoski is a rare-books dealer and former academic who has written in previous books about both his work and his strange passion for Coventry City football club. But he does look like Bryson and some reviewers reckon he writes like him too. The Tatler said of him: “think Bill Bryson, just on books”.


Review: My Name is Charles Saatchi And I Am An Artoholic

By Melanie Abrams, September 24, 2009

Charles Saatchi does not give interviews. He is also not appearing in this autumn’s BBC2 reality show in which he helps to discover new British art talent, X-Factor style. So what does this book of his answers to questions from critics and others reveal of this chronically reclusive man?

Interestingly, he is more open about his earlier advertising career than about his role as an art collector.