America and I: Short Stories by American Jewish Women Writers

Joyce Antler, Author Beacon Press (MA) $19.95 (355p) ISBN 978-0-8070-3604-4
Four generations of American Jewish women writers are represented in this absorbing collection of short stories. Divided into four chronological sections, the 23 entries range in scope from bitter ghetto experiences at the turn of the century to the contemporary confrontation of diverse sexuality. While narrative styles and sensibilities have changed, however, many themes remain consistent. Addressing what it means to be both a woman and a Jew, particularly given the secondary role of women within Judaism, two standouts are ``Malinke's Atonement'' by Mary Antin and ``The Place'' by Edith Konecky. ``Old Stock'' by Hortense Calisher and ``The Opiate of the People'' by Lynne Sharon Schwartz are two of the tales that deal with generational conflict and the need for grown children to cautiously negotiate new relationships with parents. Shocking in its time, the 1932 story ``Missis Flinders'' by Tess Slesinger concerns abortion, and addresses the sexual and emotional exploitation of women. Other pieces, powerful and deeply moving, confront the Holocaust, as in Cynthia Ozick's ``The Shawl'' and ``The Legacy of Raizel Kaidish: A Story'' by Rebecca Goldstein. Included also is Tillie Olsen's haunting classic, ``I Stand Here Ironing.'' (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1990
Release date: 07/01/1990
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-8070-3607-5
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