cover image The Worlds We Think We Know

The Worlds We Think We Know

Dalia Rosenfeld. Milkweed (PGW, dist.), $16 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-57131-126-9

In this moving collection of stories, Rosenfeld examines Jewish, Israeli, and American experiences by examining their many intersections and divergences. The stories, centered on such subjects as the dynamics of a kosher co-op at an Iowa college or an American struggling to find comfort in increasingly combustible Tel Aviv, explore competing senses of the self and the struggle to connect with places and cultures that are at once familiar and alien. This is felt most strongly in the titular story, when a young woman falls in love with an Israeli soldier while caring for his father, a Holocaust survivor living in Jerusalem. Even as she opens herself up to the possibility of true love, there is a distance between her perceptions of Israeli life and the cultural worldview of both her romantic interest and his Zionist father. In “Daughters of Respectable Houses,” another standout, love of a book by a Jewish writer is just one of many similarities between two women who at first consider themselves worlds apart. With humor and sadness, Rosenfeld illuminates how the self is at once informed by and wholly separate from culture. (May)