Books

Review: Whatever Makes You Happy

By Paul Lester, May 9, 2008

By William Sutcliffe
Bloomsbury, £10.99

Don’t be fooled by the none-more-gentile name. William Sutcliffe is a north Londonbred Jewish boy. He was in the same year at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School in Elstree as comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and his first novel in 1996, New Boy, was a near-autobiographical mix of fact and fiction — including “real” details (such as the Habs Serve And Obey motto) — which describes a teenager’s entry into an English independent-school sixth form.

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‘Being a black Jew means ordered spontaneity’

By Alex Kasriel, May 9, 2008

Rebecca Walker, a leading feminist, tells Alex Kasriel how writing a book helped her heal her ‘fragmented’ identity as black-Jewish. Overleaf, another woman explains her own solution

The last time author Rebecca Walker met up with her friend Lenny Kravitz, the rock star, he jokingly suggested co-authoring a book entitled Barbecues and Barmitzvahs.

These normally unconnected events are related for the small tribe of America’s black Jews to which both Walker and Kravitz belong.

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How to get teenagers to listen

By Rachel Fletcher, May 9, 2008

Suzanne Franks is the author of a new book of advice for parents of teenage children.

If someone has told you lately that you are an oppressive taskmaster with no understanding of the world and who regularly ruins lives, the chances are that you have teenage children.

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Review: A Dangerous Liaison

By Anne Sebba, May 9, 2008

Were French intellectual beacons Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir in fact a devious and disgraceful pair?

By Carole Seymour-Jones

Century, £20

There is plenty in this important, heavyweight book to interest not only students of French literature and philosophy but also those who struggle to understand the history of France in the last century and its attitude towards Jews. But you will need a strong stomach.

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Review: Homesick

By David Herman, May 2, 2008

By Eshkol Nevo (Trans: Sondra Silverston)
Chatto & Windus, £11.99

Has any country since the Second World War produced more great writers per capita than Israel? Israeli writers have punched above their weight for decades. But with Appelfeld and Yehoshua now in their 70s, and Oz 70 next year, what of the next generation? Does Israel have a new generation of young writers to match the explosion of young Jewish writers in America?

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Review: A History of Modern Israel

By Ahron Bregman, May 2, 2008

Colin Shindler
Cambridge University Press, £14.99

Though Colin Shindler’s is not the first book on the history of modern Israel, his timing is spot-on, coinciding with the state’s 60th anniversary.

Shindler adopts a chronological approach, tracing Israel’s history across six decades, from optimistic beginnings — immigration, settlement, the creation of institutions — through its conflicts with Arabs and Palestinians, to the present.

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A recipe for survival in Weimar Germany

By Amanda Hopkinson, May 2, 2008

Weimar has always had a strong cultural, as well as political resonance. A period as much as a place, it combined the frenetic pace of things falling apart with the slow, smoky seduction of cabaret. Its evocative power is particularly felt now, with the current vogue for the burlesque.

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Adam Foulds picks up a top award for a book he wrote in between driving fork-lifts

By Candice Krieger, April 25, 2008

Former fork-lift truck driver Adam Foulds has been named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.

Mr Foulds, 33, whose father is Rabbi Michael Foulds of the New Essex Masorti Synagogue, picked up the award for his debut novel, The Truth About These Strange Times (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) — a book about contemporary London life. It tells the story of an unlikely friendship between a runaway child genius and an overweight, chain-smoking twenty-something Glaswegian.

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Review: History lesson: A Race Odyssey

By Jenni Frazer, April 25, 2008

A new book reveals what happened when a female Jewish student asked a male black professor an innocent question

By Mary Lefkowitz
Yale University Press, £18

However malevolent or misguided those British proponents of an academic boycott of Israel might have been in recent years, they rarely reached the nadir of American academic politics.

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Review: The Rowing lesson

By Lawrence Joffe, April 25, 2008

By Anne Landsman
Granta, £12

Summoned back to Cape Town from bohemian New York, Betsy Klein finds herself tending to a once irrepressible father now lying in a coma. For days, she lingers around the sterile corridors of Groote Schuur Hospital with her mother, brother and sundry nurses and doctors, all hoping against hope for Harold Klein to awake.

But the past is where the book is really located as Betsy, pregnant with her first child, recalls incidents from her loving yet anguished relationship with her father.

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