The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming by Lemony Snicket
Staff Pick: Michael Yashinsky, Applebaum Senior Fellow
The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
In MIT’s annual Latke-Hamantash debate in 2006, Professor of Literature Diana Henderson praised the dramatic qualities of everyone’s favorite vegetable fritter, arguing that “the latke is appropriate for lyric, tragic, and epic forms.”
This holiday book by the “alleged children’s author” Lemony Snicket (as he calls himself on the back cover) well lives up to Henderson’s claim. Snicket endows his wonderfully amusing—and yet serious—tale with the full poetic potential of the potato pancake. According to its subtitle, it is a “Christmas story,” but take that with a grain of ice-melting salt, for this is a story that takes place at Christmastime but actually revolves around the singular beauty of Chanukah, struggling to find respect amid the blare and bustle of Yule.
The latke screams, it lectures, it is wooed unsuccessfully by a hypnotic candy cane and endures the taunt of a bunch of twinkle lights telling it that it is “basically hash browns” and should “be served alongside a Christmas ham.” By the Maccabee’s hammer, no! At the center of the Chanukah banquet is the spot for Snicket’s Latke, where all will find it suitably lyric, tragic, epic … and delicious.
Hardcover book 2007