By Andrew Sanger
January 10, 2010
The J-Word is now available in North America and on Amazon.com at http://bit.ly/5g9Thw. Of course I'm thrilled. But I wonder - can Americans be interested in a Jewish story set in Golders Green? Many Jewish writers in the United States have used the Jewish condition as a metaphor for the American condition. Jews and their problems, anxieties and moral dilemmas, it seems, serve as the paradigm of American society.
By contrast, the dilemmas of British Jews are hardly known - especially in America. For sure, the issues are different. American Jews are just one of the ingredients of a society trying to fuse its elements into a single nation ('under God'). Yet in America, it's not usually necessary to keep one's Jewishness a secret. In The J-Word, the main character, Jack Silver, is almost pathologically determined to be 'English', not 'Jewish'.
Hopefully Jack's desire for justice, his hunt for the antisemitic thugs, his encounter with them - and with his own childhood memories, and the eventual realisations about his identity, will strike a chord with American as much as with British readers.