An Israeli Writer’s Great American Novel https://mosaicmagazine.com/observation/arts-culture/2015/03/an-israeli-writers-great-american-novel/

In his prize-winning new novel, Reuven Namdar asks whether American Jewry is a house on fire. His answer is. . . .

March 5, 2015 | Michael Weingrad
About the author: Michael Weingrad is professor of Jewish studies at Portland State University and a frequent contributor to Mosaic and the Jewish Review of Books. 

Photo by Reuven Namdar.

Israeli reviewers have repeatedly invoked the word “ambitious” to describe Reuven Namdar’s Hebrew novel, Habayit asher neḥerav (“The House That Was Destroyed”), which in January won the Sapir prize, Israel’s equivalent of Britain’s Man Booker award. The term is richly deserved. In The House That Was Destroyed, Namdar, an Israeli of Persian descent who for the past fifteen years has made his home in New York, has given us, simultaneously, four kinds of novel. Each is worth describing in order to grasp what may be the book’s culminating, if most elusive ambition: to be read one day by the American Jews who are implicated in its pages.

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