Calling all readers. Join us throughout the year as we dissect and discuss selections that deal with a variety of Jewish themes, perspectives, and characters. Sessions meet at 7:00pm in the Kane Street Chapel. Come take part in thoughtful conversation over wine and light snacks.
Shop Cobble Hill's Books Are Magic and get a 20% discount. Mention Kane Street Book Club at store or in comments section of online purchase.
The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
Wednesday, September 4, 2019
Set in London of the 1660s and of the early twenty-first century, The Weight of Ink is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect: Ester Velasquez, an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; and Helen Watt, an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.
The One Facing Us by Ronit Matalon
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Esther, seventeen years old, wild and rebellious, is sent from Israel to Cameroon to stay with her hardheaded uncle Sicourelle, who is charged with straightening her out. But Esther resists her uncle's plans for her future--which include marriage to a cousin--and in the privileged indolence of postcolonial Africa, she looks to the past instead. Using sepia portraits and scraps of letters, Esther pieces together the history of her family, a once-grand Egyptian-Jewish clan, and its displacement from Cairo in the 1950s to Israel, West Africa, and New York.
As the worn photographs yield their secrets, Esther uncovers a rich tale of wives and ex-wives; revolving mistresses and crushing marriages; intrigues and disappointments; poignant contrasts between the living past and the dead present. In sensuous, inventive prose, Matalon penetrates the mysteries of cultural exile and family life to produce a first novel that is mature, authentic, and deeply moving.
Yekl by Abraham Cahan
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Yekl (1896), the novel upon which the highly successful film Hester Street was based, was written by Abraham Cahan, editor of the prestigious Jewish Daily Forward for half a century. It is probably the first novel in English that had a New York East Side immigrant as its hero; reviewing it, Howells hailed Cahan as "a new star of realism."
In Yekl, the central problem derives from a social condition: the urgent desire of the hero to become a real American, to be less a "greenhorn"; but the play of events is around an emotional crisis; Yekl no longer loves the wife he left behind, who has now rejoined him in the new land, and who seems to him shockingly European.