Promised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging

Promised Lands: New Jewish American Fiction on Longing and Belonging

by Derek Rubin
     
 

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This vibrant anthology showcases new, unpublished short stories by a rapidly growing crop of highly talented young Jewish American fiction writers. Cohering around the core Jewish theme of the Promised Land, all the stories were written especially for this volume. With the kind of depth and imagination that only fiction allows, they offer striking variations on the…  See more details below

Overview

This vibrant anthology showcases new, unpublished short stories by a rapidly growing crop of highly talented young Jewish American fiction writers. Cohering around the core Jewish theme of the Promised Land, all the stories were written especially for this volume. With the kind of depth and imagination that only fiction allows, they offer striking variations on the multivalent theme of the Promised Land and how it continues to shape the collective consciousness of contemporary American Jews. This anthology provides a rich reading experience and a unique window onto Jewish American life and culture at the beginning of the twenty-first century. A scholarly introduction by Derek Rubin provides literary context, discusses the organization of the volume, and illuminates expected and unexpected connections among the stories. Promised Lands features 23 stories by Elisa Albert, Melvin Jules Bukiet, Janice Eidus, Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, Lauren Grodstein, Aaron Hamburger, Dara Horn, Rachel Kadish, Binnie Kirshenbaum, Joan Leegant, Yael Goldstein Love, Rivka Lovett, Tova Mirvis, Lev Raphael, Nessa Rapoport, Jonathan Rosen, Thane Rosenbaum, Joey Rubin, Edward Schwarzschild, Steve Stern, Lara Vapnyar, Adam Wilson, and Jonathan Wilson.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Rubin's anthology of previously unreleased work by rising and prominent Jewish American authors shows the multitudinous and often unexpected ways in which Jewish ideology shapes people's lives. In Binnie Kirshenbaum's "Lunatic," a woman watching the news report of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination recognizes a former crush in the crowd of radicals and recalls her failed attempt to seduce the odd, unfriendly boy. Edward Schwarzschild's "Midhusband" features a man infatuated with the midwife who assisted eight months earlier in the birth of his child. As the tale progresses, and the midwife returns his feelings, the narrator bases a decision to deceive his wife on the well-being of his infant son. Another child figures prominently in Lauren Grodstein's "Homewrecker," in which the narrator's dogged repetition of the formal term "my future husband" illuminates her own isolation as she finds herself caught between him, his striking ex, and their damaged son. Standouts from Elisa Albert, Aaron Hamburger, Lara Vapnyar, Dara Horn, and others round out this stunning compilation of talented storytellers who have all been shaped somehow by history and faith, or lack there of. (Nov. 9)
From the Publisher

“These stories, like all good fiction, bristle with pain and complication, but they also expand our empathy and even provide some consolation. One need not be Jewish to see in many of these magnificently crafted tales a kind of Jewish messianic expectation: a recognition that the promised land is the future; a better, more meaningful world to come, and something to strive for as well as long for.—Forward

“The stories [in Promised Lands] span an array of settings in time and place, and would fall at various points on any Promised-Land-in-concrete-or-abstract-terms continuum . . .. Any anthology featuring this contributor roster (the first three bylines in the table of contents belong to Dara Horn, Tova Mirvis, and Steve Stern) will contain some excellent work and will be well worth reading. Go buy it.”—Jewish Journal of Greater LA

“Rubin’s anthology of previously unreleased work by rising and prominent Jewish American authors shows the multitudinous and often unexpected ways in which Jewish ideology shapes people’s lives. In Binnie Kirshenbaum’s ‘Lunatic,’ a woman watching the news report of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination recognizes a former crush in the crowd of radicals and recalls her failed attempt to seduce the odd, unfriendly boy. Edward Schwarzschild’s ‘Midhusband’ features a man infatuated with the midwife who assisted eight months earlier in the birth of his child. As the tale progresses, and the midwife returns his feelings, the narrator bases a decision to deceive his wife on the well-being of his infant son. Another child figures prominently in Lauren Grodstein’s ‘Homewrecker,’ in which the narrator’s dogged repetition of the formal term ‘my future husband’ illuminates her own isolation as she finds herself caught between him, his striking ex, and their damaged son. Standouts from Elisa Albert, Aaron Hamburger, Lara Vapnyar, Dara Horn, and others round out this stunning compilation of talented storytellers who have all been shaped somehow by history and faith, or lack there of.” *Starred Review—Publishers Weekly

“Promised Lands should find a wide audience. For those readers who follow the contemporary Jewish American literary scene, Derek Rubin provides a rich gathering of stories that move, engage, and provoke.”—Jewish Book World

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781584659204
Publisher:
Brandeis University Press
Publication date:
11/09/2010
Series:
Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life & HBI Series on Jewish Women
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,422,802
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Ilan Stavans
"Irving Howe was wrong: The Jewish-American writer didn't disappear after the post-immigrant generation but has become restless, multifaceted, and probing. Perhaps literature itself is now under threat but even that isn't a deterrent: To tell a story, and to tell it well, is proof of durability."
Ilan Stavans, author of On Borrowed Words: A Memoir of Language
Hasia R. Diner
“That more than a score of writers—seasoned veterans and relative newcomers to the literary scene—have produced a volume of short stories struggling and playing with the themes of Jewishness in America at the beginning of the twenty-first century speaks loudly about the salience and resilience of ‘being Jewish.’ In a complicated descant, these writers demonstrate the enduring mystery and power of the Jewish tradition in a post-modern world.”

Meet the Author

DEREK RUBIN teaches in the English Department and the American Studies Program at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His essay anthology Who We Are: On Being (and Not Being) a Jewish American Writer won the 2005 National Jewish Book Award.

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