THE MARRYING OF CHANI KAUFMAN by Eve Harris

IN MARRYING OF CHANI KAUFMAN, Eve Harris discloses the secrets of a Chasidic community in Golders Green, London, focusing on the tribulations of three families: the Kaufmans, Levys, and Zilbermans. The Kaufmans have eight daughters, one of whom, nineteen-year-old Chani, is seeking an intelligent, animated, and good-natured husband. The Levys, a well-to-do couple, want only the best for their son, Baruch, and plan to settle for nothing less. The Zilbermans are facing a major crisis. Rabbi Zilberman’s wife, Rivka, is no longer a contented spouse, mother, and homemaker; she is restless, edgy, and depressed. Adding to the tension is the fact that one of her sons, Avromi, a university student, is acting strangely. He is secretive, stays out late, and avoids telling his family where he has been.

April 7, 2014 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Family Matters, Man Booker Nominee, United Kingdom, World Lit

THE ASTRAL by Kate Christensen

THE ASTRAL, by Kate Christensen, gets its title by way of its namesake, the Astral building in Brooklyn, New York. This building houses the protagonist of this book, an aging poet named Harry Quirk. His last name befits him and his family. They are interestingly dysfunctional in many ways.

Harry was once a somewhat well-known poet, teaching poetry workshops and writing his lyrical poems in rhyming and sonnet style. His publisher and mentor has moved to Europe and his style is now out of favor in the United States. His wife, Luz, decides after thirty years of marriage that Harry is having an affair with his best friend, Marion. Despite Harry’s pleading innocence – and he is innocent – Luz does not believe him and she kicks him out of their apartment in the Astral.

August 1, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, Drift-of-Life, Family Matters, New York City, Satire, y Award Winning Author

36 ARGUMENTS FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD by Rebecca Goldstein

With a doctorate in philosophy from Princeton, Guggenheim and MacArthur (genius) awards, several novels, and non-fiction studies of Gödel and Spinoza under her belt, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is nobody’s fool. But I can’t decide whether her decision to populate her latest novel exclusively with people like herself is good or bad. Set in and around Cambridge, Massachusetts, partly at Harvard but mainly at another elite university which might be a fictionalized Brandeis, the entire cast of characters seems to consist of academic philosophers, psychologists, mathematicians, or theologians, all determined to prove that they are smarter than anybody else.

February 20, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Contemporary, NE & New York, Reading Guide, Theme driven, Unique Narrative, y Award Winning Author

THE COOKBOOK COLLECTOR by Allegra Goodman

One of Goodman’s favorite authors is Jane Austen and it shows in her subtle, wryly witty social comedies. This latest takes place on both coasts between 1999 and 2002 and centers on two California sisters: responsible, ambitious, principled Emily and flighty, vegan, philosophical Jess. The title character, though deceased, plays a beguiling role in the plot.

August 21, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, California

HURRY DOWN SUNSHINE by Michael Greenberg

Michael Greenberg’s brilliant and mesmerizing memoir, HURRY DOWN SUNSHINRE, of his daughter’s madness is a poignant and terrifying book about the depths and peaks of mania and the desperate struggle that a loved one will go to in order to bring someone back from the world of psychosis.

When Greenberg’s daughter, Sally, first becomes psychotic, he thinks it is more her creativity than anything else. He is slow to recognize her manic state. But then, who would first assume that someone they love has gone to a place of madness. “But how does one tell the difference between Plato’s “divine madness” and gibberish? Between enthousiasmos (literally, to be inspired by a god) and lunacy? Between the prophet and the “medically mad.”

February 17, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Non-fiction, Reading Guide