Books

Review: Chasing Harry Winston

By Madeleine Kingsley, July 10, 2008

By Lauren Weisberger
Harper, £6.99

Lauren Weisberger’s latest is the perfect paperback for any label-lover en vacances, laced as it is with allusions to Valentino, le Cirque, la Perla, scarlet BMW convertibles and multi-carat HW diamonds-to-go. In her third book, Weisberger, best known for The Devil Wears Prada, delivers another neat line in female friends with ultimately sound values but somewhat suspect men.

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Review: City Of Thieves

By Madeleine Kingsley, July 3, 2008

By David Benioff
Sceptre, £12.99

Statistics of the Leningrad siege (632,000 dead in the 900 days, 4,000 starved in a single day) should make irredeemably grim reading. From this sombre history, however, David Benioff spins one of the year’s most captivating yarns, a swashbuckler illuminated by love among the lawlessness, by chicken soup and cut-throat chess.

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Review: Swimming In A Sea Of Death: A Son's Memoir

By Julia Neuberger, July 3, 2008

By David Rieff
Granta, £12.99

‘In the valley of sorrow, spread your wings,” wrote Susan Sontag when receiving chemotherapy for breast cancer 30 years before her death. “Be cheerful, be stoic, be tranquil.” Facing her last illness, Sontag was none of these things, and David Rieff records his complicity with his mother’s denial of the fatality of her condition. Sontag, famous intellectual, critic and writer, could neither imagine a world without her in it, nor summon up any reserves of spiritual strength for that final journey.

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Review: By The Rivers Of Babylon

By Miriam Halahmy, June 20, 2008

By Khalid Kishtainy
Quartet Books, £15

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Review: Memories Of Eden

By Miriam Halahmy, June 20, 2008

By Violette Shamash (edited by Mira and Tony Rocca)
Forum Books, £14.99

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Review: Last Days Of Babylon

By Miriam Halahmy, June 20, 2008

By Marina Benjamin
Bloomsbury, £9.99

In the 1941 Farhud (pogrom), my husband’s mother lost a relative. Ten years later, along with most of the Iraqi Jewish community, the entire family left for Israel (300 of them filled a plane). As they locked the door of their house, Muslim neighbours stood in the street crying and begging them to stay. This is a complex story, very different to the Ashkenazi Jewish experience.

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Review: The Fox, The Foetus And The Fatal Injection

By Daniel Youngerwood, June 20, 2008

By Rabbi Daniel Levy
YPS, £8

“I have often heard people say that ‘Some rabbis are known as controversial whilst others are not’ … I would prefer to say that there are rabbis who speak out and rabbis who do not.”
(From The Fox, the Foetus and the Fatal Injection)

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Book Week boss accuses Edinburgh event of bias

By Shelly Paz, June 19, 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 12, 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 12, 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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