Tag: British

Bestseller based on ancient menorah

The massive golden menorah from the Holy Temple of Jerusalem is the coveted object that fuels the modern-day action-adventure in Saskatchewan-born author David Gibbins’s second novel Crusader Gold, published this year by Headline Press of Britain and available under that imprint in Canada. Gibbins, who appeared at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto in…

Two by David Liss

Ever since Poe, the detective has figured as a major archetypal hero in modern fiction. Literary detectives have emerged in so many personas and guises that there are now more than a minyan’s worth of Jewish gumshoes in the bookshops, ranging from Howard Engel’s Benny Cooperman to Harry Kemerman’s Rabbi David Small. (An internet search…

Appignanesi’s Losing the Dead

Lisa Appignanesi, a child of Holocaust survivors who grew up in Montreal, recounts her parents’ wartime experiences in Losing the Dead (McArthur & Co., 2000), a family memoir that takes the form of a personal quest of research and discovery. Appignanesi (nee Borensztejn), born in postwar Poland and now living in London, has already proved her…

Englander’s triumph

I picked up the New Yorker’s Summer Fiction Issue recently, delighted to see that Nathan Englander, the 29-year-old author of the recent short story collection For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, had made it onto that magazine’s list of 20 Writers for the 21st Century. This comes as no great surprise. Englander’s first published work…

The Origin of Ivanhoe’s Rebecca

Scottish novelist Walter Scott’s portraits of the Jew Isaac of York and his daughter Rebecca in his classic medieval romance Ivanhoe (1819) provides English literature with its strongest positive counterbalance to the stereotypical conception of the Jew as a dark misanthropic being along the lines of Shakespeare’s Shylock. Thackeray, who grew up with Ivanhoe, described…

The Dream of Scipio, by Ian Pears

British author Iain Pears has created a literary character named Gersonides, based on the actual medieval French Jewish philosopher of the same name, known to Talmudists as Levi ben Gershom or by the acronym Ralbag. The character appears in Pears’s new novel, The Dream of Scipio (Knopf Canada, 2002), itself a complex intellectualized study of…

Harry Bernstein’s ‘Invisible Wall’

Harry Bernstein was 96 years old when his memoir, “The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers,” was published to great critical acclaim two years ago. Last year he followed up his success with a second memoir, “The Dream,” which similarly has attracted much favourable attention and legions of readers. This year, at 98,…