cover image Jewish Noir

Jewish Noir

Edited by Kenneth Wishnia. PM (IPG, dist.), $17.95 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-1-62963-111-0

The 33 stories in this uneven anthology, most of them original to this volume, exemplify the editor’s claim that “practically anything” can be Jewish noir. For example, Adam D. Fisher’s brief “Her Daughter’s Bat Mitzvah: A Mother Talks to the Rabbi” is simply an extended kvetch. Wishnia (The Fifth Servant) does include some gems that better fit the typical noir label, such as Charles Ardai’s “Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die,” which places a synagogue’s congregation in a horrifying moral dilemma during Yom Kippur. In “The Flowers of Shanghai,” S.J. Rozan powerfully describes a woman’s struggle to reconcile survival with morality in a Chinese city under Japanese occupation during WWII. Travis Richardson’s “Quack and Dwight” succeeds in getting the reader to empathize with a character acting immorally. The high point is B.K. Stevens’s “Living Underwater,” which starts as a biting satire of the state of higher education, but gets much, much darker. Other contributors include Harlan Ellison, Eddie Muller, Marge Piercy, Jonathan Santlofer, Jason Starr, and David Zeltserman. (Oct.)