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June 21, 2012 - Image 44

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-06-21

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Decker and his wife Rina have agreed to
help raise, forbidden teen romance and
teen "suicides" at an elite prep school.

Kick Back from page 34

where he becomes a smashing success; his
fortunes and romantic liaisons thrive in
cyberspace while he remains blind to the
fact that his real life is sinking.

In the historical novel The Midwife of
Venice (Simon & Schuster), Roberta Rich
tells the story of Hannah Levi, a Jewish
woman with a traditional profession and a
strong sense of ethics who lives in difficult
times. Rich captures the dark atmosphere
of the 16th-century Venetian ghetto, with
its bridges and canals, and complicated
relationships between Jews and gentiles.

The Seventh Gate (Overlook) by Richard
Zimler is another literary, mystical
and historical murder mystery by the
American writer who makes his home
in Portugal and publishes his bestsellers
internationally. This novel, with its inter-
locking mysteries, is set in 1932 Berlin,
with a young woman at the center whose
father and brother have become Nazis, and
she joins a secret resistance group. Zimler
tells of the less well-known and terribly
brutal crimes against handicapped people
during the Holocaust. He reintroduces
a character from his highly praised first
novel, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon.

From Irene Nemirovsky (Suite Francaise),
who died in Auchwitz in 1942, two novels
recently published in English: Jezebel
(Vintage Original) is the riveting tale —
part love story, part murder mystery —
of Gladys Eysenach, a beautiful socialite
unwilling to face certain realities, who
finds herself on trial for murder. All Our
Worldly Goods (Vintage Original) is
another portrait of lives torn apart by war;
a couple's marriage provokes a family feud
between two powerful families in a small
French town.

In Trapeze (Other Press), Simon Mawer,
author of The Glass Room, has written a
novel based on the true story of a young
English woman recruited to work as a
spy in Occupied France — one of only 53
women trained for combat by the Western

36 June 21 ' 2012

In a family saga set in the most insular
community of Chasidic Jews, the Satmar,
Anouk Markovits' English-language debut,
I Am Forbidden (Hogarth), spans four
generations, cultures and continents —
from pre-World War II Transylvania to
1960s Paris to modern-day Brooklyn —
telling the story of two Satmar sisters,
the devout Mila and the rebellious Atara,
whose differing beliefs take them on
divergent paths. For a memoir about liv-
ing in and leaving the Satmar community,
see Deborah Feldman's Unorthodox: The
Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots:
A Memoir (Simon & Schuster).

Nights of Awe (Bitter Lemon Press) by
Harry Nykanen, translated by Kristian
London, is the first in a new series of
mysteries featuring Inspector Ariel Kafka
of the Violent Crime Unit of the Helsinki
police (and one of two Jewish cops in
Finland). Here, during the days leading up
to Yom Kippur, he is faced with the most
difficult case of his career, when two Arab
men are killed in Helsinki and soon after
additional Muslim bodies are found in a
garage owned by Iraqis. The Mossad gets
involved when an Israeli minister makes
an unofficial visit to the Finnish capital.
Nykanen, who was a longtime crime
reporter for Finland's largest newspaper,
is the author of more than 30 novels and
has been awarded Finland's crime writing

In Daniel Friedman's Don't Ever Get Old
(Minotaur), a funny and fast-paced tale
of revenge, 88-year-old badass retired
Memphis cop (and Holocaust survivor)
Buck (real name Baruch) Schatz is physi-
cally declining but maintains his cop's
watchfulness. His .357 Magnum comes in
handy as he and his grandson hunt down
the SS officer who tormented Buck in a
death camp during the war and escaped
Germany with a fortune in stolen gold.

Faye Kellerman's 21st volume of her popu-
lar Decker/Lazarus Jewish detective series,
Gun Games (Morrow) involves a 15-year-
old Christian boy LAPD Detective Peter

Psychological thriller writer Jesse
Kellerman (Faye's son) has written
Potboiler (Putnam), a satire that is both
a thriller and a parody of a thriller. Arthur
Pfefferkorn, a middle-aged college profes-
sor with long-dead literary aspirations,
is a best friend to Bill De Vallee, a writer
of hugely successful but formulaic best-
selling thrillers. When Bill is lost at sea,
Arthur discovers his friend's unfinished
manuscript and surreptitiously rewrites it
as his own. When Arthur decides to recon-
nect with Bill's widow (the woman Arthur
has always loved), a surreal chain of events
is set in motion.

Emmy and Golden Globe winner
Howard Gordon (The X-Files, 24), now
the creator of Showtime's critically
acclaimed Homeland, follows up his 2011
novel, Gideon's War, with Hard Target
(Touchstone), the story of a harrow-
ing attempt to stop a terrorist plot from
destroying the U.S. government; back in
action are brothers Gideon and Tillman

Former New York Times reporter Alex
Berenson's The Shadow Patrol (Putnam)
is his sixth spy thriller detailing the
exploits of ex-CIA operative John Wells,
who goes undercover in the Muslim world
to take readers inside America's troubled
efforts to win the war in Afghanistan.

International spy novel The Spy Who
Jumped Off the Screen (Viking) by
Thomas Caplan is the story of a former
special operations officer turned block-
buster movie star who, using his celebrity
as disguise, is enlisted by the president
to prevent the transfer of nuclear weap-
ons into dangerous hands. Caplan was a
roommate of President Bill Clinton when
both attended the Georgetown University
School of Foreign Service; the former
president acted as a volunteer editor, help-
ing the author "fine-tune the book and
increase its momentum in certain places:'
says Caplan.

An intellectual horror story taking place in
a post-apocalyptic New York, The Flame
Alphabet (Knopf) by Ben Marcus tells
the story of an epidemic: The speech of
children suddenly becomes lethal to their
parents. At first, it affects only Jews, but
soon it spreads to the rest of the world,
and parents must abandon their children
to survive. A Jewish couple, Sam and
Claire, find it difficult to leave their daugh-
ter, Esther, even as they waste away from
her malevolent speech. The novel begs the
question: What is left of civilization when
we lose the ability to communicate with
those we love?

In American Dervish (Little, Brown) by
Ayad Akhtar, set in a Muslim-American
community in the early 1980s, Hayat,
the only child of a lapsed fundamental-
ist father and a devout mother, becomes
transfixed by the Quran when his mother's
beautiful, devout best friend, Mina, comes
to live with them. But when Mina finds
her own path to happiness, the ember of
jealousy in Hayat's heart is inflamed by the
community's anti-Semitism.

Sayed Kashua is an Arab who writes in
Hebrew, lives in a Jewish neighborhood in
Jerusalem and writes humorous columns
about Arabs in Israel caught between two
worlds. His second novel, Second Person
Singular (Grove Press), winner of the
2011 Bernstein Award, an annual Israeli
literary award for writers 50 years of age
and under, centers on an ambitious lawyer
who is one of the best Arab criminal attor-
ney in Jerusalem and has a thriving prac-
tice in the Jewish part of the city. One day
he picks up a novel at a used bookstore
and finds a love letter, in Arabic, in his
wife's handwriting. Consumed with suspi-
cion and jealousy, he hunts for the previ-
ous owner — according to the inscrip-
tion, a man named Yonaton — pulling at
the strings that hold their lives together.
Kashua also is creator of the Israeli sitcom
Arab Labor.


Father's Day: A Journey into the Mind
& Heart of My Extraordinary Son
(Harcourt Houghton Mifflin) by Buzz
Bissinger recounts the cross-country
journey by Bissinger and his 24-year old
son Zach. A twin, Zach has spent his life
attending special-needs schools while
his brother is now a graduate student at
the University of Pennsylvania. The duo
revisit places they have been to before as
Bissinger seeks to understand Zach's view
of the world as well as his own life history
and choices. The Pulitzer Prize-winning
author shows readers important truths
about autism and reveals Zach's percep-
tiveness and character.

Writing with beautiful clarity, humil-
ity and breathtaking candor, Joy Ladin,
in Through the Door of Life: A Jewish
Journey Between Genders (University of
Wisconsin Press), explains that at her core,
she understood that somehow her soul
and body were not one; she felt as though
a ghost, inhabiting a body that didn't
feel like her own. She switched genders
while working as a professor of English at
Yeshiva University. And she understood
the enormous pain that the transition
from man to woman would cause her
wife and children. Often, she contem-
plated suicide. Ultimately, she chooses life.
Throughout, she expresses the emotional

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