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Jewish Noir
Cover of Jewish Noir
Jewish Noir
Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds
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A unique collection of all-new stories by award-winning authors.

This anthology includes the work of numerous authors such as Marge Piercy, Harlan Ellison, S. J. Rozan, Nancy Richler, Moe Prager (Reed Farrel Coleman), Wendy Hornsby, Charles Ardai, and Kenneth Wishnia. The stories explore such issues as the Holocaust and its long-term effects on subsequent generations, anti-Semitism in the mid- and late-20th-century United States, and the dark side of the Diaspora (e.g., the decline of revolutionary fervor, the passing of generations, the Golden Ghetto, etc.). The stories in this collection include "Trajectories," Marge Piercy's story of the divergent paths taken by two young men from the slums of Cleveland and Detroit in a rapidly changing post–WW II society; "Some You Lose," Nancy Richler's empathetic exploration of the emotional and psychological challenges of trying to sum up a man's life in a eulogy; and "Yahrzeit Candle," Stephen Jay Schwartz's take on the subtle horrors of the inevitable passing of time. These works include many "teachable moments" about the history of prejudice, the contradictions of ethnic identity, and assimilation into American society and culture.

A unique collection of all-new stories by award-winning authors.

This anthology includes the work of numerous authors such as Marge Piercy, Harlan Ellison, S. J. Rozan, Nancy Richler, Moe Prager (Reed Farrel Coleman), Wendy Hornsby, Charles Ardai, and Kenneth Wishnia. The stories explore such issues as the Holocaust and its long-term effects on subsequent generations, anti-Semitism in the mid- and late-20th-century United States, and the dark side of the Diaspora (e.g., the decline of revolutionary fervor, the passing of generations, the Golden Ghetto, etc.). The stories in this collection include "Trajectories," Marge Piercy's story of the divergent paths taken by two young men from the slums of Cleveland and Detroit in a rapidly changing post–WW II society; "Some You Lose," Nancy Richler's empathetic exploration of the emotional and psychological challenges of trying to sum up a man's life in a eulogy; and "Yahrzeit Candle," Stephen Jay Schwartz's take on the subtle horrors of the inevitable passing of time. These works include many "teachable moments" about the history of prejudice, the contradictions of ethnic identity, and assimilation into American society and culture.

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About the Author-
  • Kenneth Wishnia is an associate professor of English at Suffolk Community College and the author of the Filomena Buscarsela Mystery series—the first of which was nominated for both the Edgar and the Anthony Awards, and made the Booklist "Best First Mystery" list—and The Fifth Servant. He lives on Long Island.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 24, 2015
    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.

  • Library Journal

    October 15, 2015

    Short story collections of noir fiction have become extremely popular, particularly those published by Akashic. With contributions from Marge Piercy, S.J. Rozan, Stephen Jay Schwartz, and others, this compilation examines the noir side of Jewish ethnicity, primarily in the United States. Children are bullied for their religion on school playgrounds. Sexual predators among the Jewish clergy are unmasked and punished. In Heywood Gould's "Everything Is Bashert," when a rabbi uses Gematria--an ancient system of numerology--at the race track, he wins an enormous trifecta, but his loss is even greater. The Jewish mob is not ignored but neither are the scars of the Holocaust. Each selection is a small treasure of angst, revenge, and often evil. Eddie Muller's "Doc's Oscar" examines the McCarthy-era blacklist in Hollywood. Jonathan Santlofer's "The Golem of Jericho" allows the ancient tale to become reality for a small boy whose grandfather uses his knowledge of history to protect him. In Alan Gordon's "The Drop," a man takes on drug dealers to avenge the death of his brother, while Rozan's "Flowers of Shanghai" explores the miseries of the World War II Shanghai ghetto. VERDICT Every reader will have his or her favorites, but this anthology is heartrending and spine-chilling in its entirety.--Andrea Kempf, formerly with Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS

    Copyright 2015 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    September 15, 2015
    Editor Wishnia offers readers a first-rate collection of short stories dealing with traditional noir subject matter and tone but offering Jewish variations on the theme. His introduction argues that noir's origins reach back to the Hebrew Bible, citing Moses and Job as essential noir heroes. The stories deal with a variety of familiar topics but bring the noir perspective to bear on each: assimilation and adjustment to a new land, ethnic identity, sexism and gender roles, the Holocaust and its aftermath, the state of Israel, religious alienation, and, of course, anti-Semitism. Contributors, some Jewish and some Gentile, include S. J. Rozan, David Liss, Gary Phillips, Harlan Ellison, and Marge Piercy. Among the highlights are David Liss' Jewish Easter and Ellison's Final Shtick, both of which deal with anti-Semitic bullying in small towns; Wishnia's original translation of Yente Serdastky's A Simche, which expresses the frustration of an intelligent female immigrant in early twentieth-century New York; and Jason Starr's All Other Nights, about child sexual abuse in the Orthodox community. A fine anthology, true to both the noir frame and the Jewish theme.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2015, American Library Association.)

  • Impulsive Reviews

    "Wishnia's works are addictive, thought provoking page-turners."

  • Elie Wiesel on contributor Stephen Jay Schwartz's "Yahrzeit Candle"

    "Stirring. Evocative. Penetrating."

  • Jewish Press on The Fifth Servant

    "Wishnia presents the world of Ashkenazi Jewry with a keen eye for detail. Wishnia never judges his characters, but creates three-dimensional people who live in a very dangerous world."

  • Publishers Weekly

    "The stories exemplify the editor's claim that 'practically anything' can be Jewish noir."

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Jewish Noir
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Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds
Kenneth Wishnia
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