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The Last Jew
Cover of The Last Jew
The Last Jew
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"A layered, sweeping panorama of 20th Century Jewish life and identity" (Publishers Weekly).

Yoram Kaniuk has been hailed as "one of the most innovative, brilliant novelists in the Western World," and The Last Jew is his exhilarating masterwork (The New York Times).

Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Last Jew is a sweeping saga that captures the troubled history and culture of an entire people through the prism of one family. From the chilling opening scene of a soldier returning home in a fog of battle trauma, the novel moves backward through time and across continents until Kaniuk has succeeded in bringing to life the twentieth century's most unsettling legacy: the anxieties of modern Europe, which begat the Holocaust, and in turn the birth of Israel and the swirling cauldron that is the Middle East. With the unforgettable character of Ebenezer Schneerson—the eponymous last Jew—at its center, Kaniuk weaves an ingenious tapestry of Jewish identity that is alternately tragic, absurd, enigmatic, and heartbreaking.

"A true work of art, free from emotional manipulations." —The Washington Post

"A layered, sweeping panorama of 20th Century Jewish life and identity" (Publishers Weekly).

Yoram Kaniuk has been hailed as "one of the most innovative, brilliant novelists in the Western World," and The Last Jew is his exhilarating masterwork (The New York Times).

Like Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Last Jew is a sweeping saga that captures the troubled history and culture of an entire people through the prism of one family. From the chilling opening scene of a soldier returning home in a fog of battle trauma, the novel moves backward through time and across continents until Kaniuk has succeeded in bringing to life the twentieth century's most unsettling legacy: the anxieties of modern Europe, which begat the Holocaust, and in turn the birth of Israel and the swirling cauldron that is the Middle East. With the unforgettable character of Ebenezer Schneerson—the eponymous last Jew—at its center, Kaniuk weaves an ingenious tapestry of Jewish identity that is alternately tragic, absurd, enigmatic, and heartbreaking.

"A true work of art, free from emotional manipulations." —The Washington Post

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About the Author-
  • YORAM KANIUK was born in Tel Aviv in 1930 and took part in Israel's War of Independence in 1948. A painter, journalist, and theater critic, he is best known as a novelist. His books have been translated into twenty languages to great acclaim and have earned numerous international honors.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 30, 2006
    In this epic novel (originally published in Hebrew in 1982), Kaniuk, one of Israel's foremost writers, attempts both to cut through and to portray the lingering fog of WWII, the aftereffects of the holocaust and the conflicts surrounding the creation of Israel. Set in various parts of Europe and Isreal, the story revolves around the interconnected lives of three families-two Jewish and one German. When Ebenezer Schneerson, a Jew, returns from WWII, he finds that he has lost all of his own memories, yet can mysteriously recite every last scrap of Jewish culture, from Einstein's theories to the personal histories of families he has never known. He is pursued by a Jewish teacher and a German writer, each seeking to write the definitive account of Schneerson, dubbed the "Last Jew." Kaniuk makes readers work hard to piece together the fragmented story. His headlong, associative sentences, some of which go on for pages, mirror the characters' labyrinthine imaginations, memories, emotions and perceptions, which are all further complicated by the traumas of war. As the story slowly unfolds in a Joycean stream of consciousness, Kaniuk (Adam Resurrected, 2000) presents a layered, sweeping panorama of 20th Century Jewish life and identity.

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The Last Jew
Yoram Kaniuk
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