Holocaust Girls: History, Memory, and Other Obsessions

Overview


This bracing and vivid collection of essays gives voice to what some American Jews feel but don't express about their uneasy state of mind. These essays creatively and sometimes audaciously address the question of what it means to be an American Jew trying to negotiate overlapping identities—woman, writer, and urban intellectual in search of a moral way. S.L. Wisenberg’s deeply ambivalent connection with the Holocaust reappears throughout these essays as she struggles to find a way to live with history without ...
See more details below
Paperback
$14.55
BN.com price
(Save 8%)$15.95 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $5.49   
  • Used (10) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview


This bracing and vivid collection of essays gives voice to what some American Jews feel but don't express about their uneasy state of mind. These essays creatively and sometimes audaciously address the question of what it means to be an American Jew trying to negotiate overlapping identities—woman, writer, and urban intellectual in search of a moral way. S.L. Wisenberg’s deeply ambivalent connection with the Holocaust reappears throughout these essays as she struggles to find a way to live with history without being swallowed by it.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Fugitive essays on the experience of being a Jewish woman in the post-Holocaust world, set in Theresienstadt, Houston, and points between. Wisenberg (The Sweetheart Is In, 2001) has a good eye for offbeat detail, evoking loud German tourists smoking cigarettes at the entrance to the Jewish cemetery in Prague, who would somehow "know I was Jewish, despite my 1972 nose job," cataloguing the many Yiddish words for "vagina," deploring the strange irony of the ice-cream stands at the Terez'n ghetto, now a tourist attraction for curious Americans. In these bite-size pieces, most published in venues such as Tikkun and Chicago Reader, Wisenberg explores two large subjects: the meaning of the Holocaust, and herself. Though she comes close to trivializing the former at points, she is an entertaining, self-aware narrator. A high point comes when Wisenberg considers the matter of Monica Lewinsky, reading whose biography, she writes, "is like taking a five-hour call from your most annoying friend when you were fourteen years old, the one with constant boy problems." In a weird but inspired turn, Wisenberg compares Lewinsky to the Holocaust martyr Hannah Senesh, each representing the different paths that "privileged young Jewish women in the developed world can take, have open to them, make open to themselves." (Lewinsky, of course, opened herself to such comparisons when she complained that her post-Clinton affair life "reminded me of The Diary of Anne Frank.") Other good moments come when Wisenberg writes of being unable to cope outside the city, despite its pickpockets and street crazies; open space scares her, she confesses, and "Franz Kafka is less foreign to me than Wendell Berry." Against suchstrengths, the occasional burst of workshoppy prose ("In Prague I thought, Do I fly during sex? Does she fly higher than I do? Does he?") is jarring, and one wishes that Wisenberg had exercised a sharper pencil in editing. Still, equal parts Fran Lebowitz and Leon Wieseltier: smart and satisfying.
Booklist

"With her lucid style and power of observation, Wisenberg's insightful essays are gems not to be missed."—Booklist

— George Cohen

(The Jewish Daily) Forward

“Anyone who gets meditative around the High Holy Days, wondering exactly what it means to be a contemporary American and a Jew, will find a caring companion in Chicago-based journalist S.L. Wisenberg. . . .The strength of this collection is not so much in the answers Wisenberg provides, but in the questions she raises.”—Forward

— Amy Waldman

Booklist - George Cohen
"With her lucid style and power of observation, Wisenberg's insightful essays are gems not to be missed."—Booklist
(The Jewish Daily) Forward - Amy Waldman
“Anyone who gets meditative around the High Holy Days, wondering exactly what it means to be a contemporary American and a Jew, will find a caring companion in Chicago-based journalist S.L. Wisenberg. . . .The strength of this collection is not so much in the answers Wisenberg provides, but in the questions she raises.”—Forward
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803298668
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Pages: 142
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author


S.L. Wisenberg is the author of The Sweetheart Is In, a collection of short stories that was named a book of the year by the Chicago Tribune. She is co-director of the Masters in Creative Writing program at Northwestern University and also teaches at the University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies. She is the creative nonfiction editor of Another Chicago Magazine.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Holocaust Girls/Lemon 1
Shema, the First Prayer You Learn 4
Kavka/40 7
Holocaust Girls/Closet 14
Flying 18
The Language of Heimatlos 22
Plain Scared, Or: There Is No Such Thing as Negative Space, the Art Teacher Said 40
Chicago: Loss of Property 46
At the Rose of Sharon Spiritual Church 53
Mexico on $15 a Day 59
Vacation at Club Dead 61
Yizkor (Memorial Service) 64
The Children of Theresienstadt 69
Afterwards 75
Getting to Yiddish 84
Monica and Hannah 91
Margot's Diary 103
Eating Horse 107
The Ones You Break Bread With 111
In the Mother Tongue 127
Amalek 130
Juggling: The New Year 133
Notes 137
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)