The Elephant and My Jewish Problem: Selected Stories and Journals, 1957-1987

Hugh Nissenson, Author HarperCollins Publishers $18.95 (211p) ISBN 978-0-06-015985-6
In this combination of previously unpublished diaries and fiction from his earlier collections A Pile of Stones and In the Reign of Peace , Nissenson explores the challenges of being a Jew under pressure, threat and siege. The stories, with settings as varied as Israel, turn-of-the-century Eastern Europe and contemporary Queens, have the often fruitless quest for knowledge and conciliation as their common theme. In ``The Well,'' Arabs and Jews strive against hope to agree on sharing a water supply. ``The Law'' examines a chronic stutterer preparing for his Bar Mitzvah under his father's watchful eye. ``In the Reign of Peace'' finds two Jews of different beliefs searching for an understanding of each other and of the concept of redemption, in a kibbutz garden. Interspersed are the author's probing reflections on the Six-Day War and the trials of Adolf Eichmann and Klaus Barbie, in which global and personal concerns merge into a single quest for truth. This collection is a surprisingly seamless exploration of contemporary Jewish issues; Nissenson's journal entries have the drama and structure of good fiction, and his stories have the stark, documentary power of good journalism. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 978-0-06-091624-4
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