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Born and raised Jewish, Stephen B. Shepard ceased to be observant by the time he entered college. He simply retreated into his own private diaspora: a Jew in name only, a non-religious member of the tribe, linked only tenuously to the heritage, culture, and social values of Judaism. Yet he was aware that there was a flowering of Jewish writing in post-war America : and that many of the authors he was reading were Jewish. What, he wondered, did it mean to be a Jewish-American writer? Was there such a thing as a Jewish novel? Why did he care so much about these books?
In this literary memoir, Shepard explores his encounters with a few writers who influenced his sense of Jewish identity: and his ultimate return to the fold. He describes the anti-Semitism directed at Saul Bellow; details the literary feud between Philip Roth and Bernard Malamud; muses about the “Jewish” John Updike; and contemplates anew the horror of the Holocaust in the work of Cynthia Ozick. Shepard writes as an enthusiastic reader, a fan watching his team play.
Paperback book 2018
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