The Hottest Jewish Books Coming This Summer 2023
How to Love Your Daughter
by Hila Blum. Translated by Daniella Zamir (Riverhead)
Best-selling Israeli author Blum was awarded the Edward Sapir Prize, one of Israel’s most distinguished literary awards, for this enthralling novel that mines the relationship between a mother and daughter. The book opens with the mother gazing into the window of her estranged daughter’s home in a foreign city, seeing her grandchildren for the first time. The story moves back in time through their lives that were once so closely entwined. Both women are the only daughters of only daughters. Told in the voice of the mother, this is a novel of emotional depth and complexity, at once disturbing and enlightening.
by Andrew Ridker (Viking)
In this story of a contemporary American Jewish family set in the suburb of Brookline, Mass., Ridker introduces a physician father, do-gooder mother and their two 20-something kids in alternating chapters. The sharply drawn characters are full of foibles and missteps yet are still able to charm. While Ridker lampoons the publishing industry, where the daughter finds her career, as well as upper-middle-class life, he also manages to write about forgiveness, meaning and, as the title says, hope.
by Ruth Madievsky (Catapult)
Written in prose that’s full of energy, wit and striking imagery, Madievsky’s debut novel is a tale of two sisters. Set mostly in Los Angeles, it’s also a wild and perceptive coming-of-age and coming-out story mixed with addiction and mysticism, the latter shared by a Jewish refugee from Moldova who offers psychic revelations. The author, who was born in Moldova, is an essayist and award-winning poet as well as a pharmacist.
The Ascent: A House Can Have Many Secrets
by Stefan Hertmans. Translated by David McKay (Pantheon)
In this memoir that records and re-imagines the past, Belgian author Hertmans recounts his discovery that the house in Ghent where he lived for 20 years had once been the home of a Nazi official, Willem Verhulst. It was, he writes, “as if phantoms haunted the rooms I’d known so well.” The author, an International Booker Prize nominee for his novel The Convert, tells Verhulst’s life story in The Ascent, including his first marriage to a Jewish woman, his early political leanings and his cruelty. The text is accompanied by photos, creating a fuller picture of the house, its inhabitants and the long shadow of the Holocaust.
Time’s Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance
by Jeremy Eichler (Knopf)
The chief classical music critic at The Boston Globe and a cultural historian, Eichler guides readers in listening to history through music. He has crafted an original, well-researched and poetic work about the multilayered connections between music and memory, going backward and forward in time. He looks at sounds, stories, events and landscapes as he reports on works by four 20th-century composers—Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg, Dmitri Shostakovich and Benjamin Britten—and their different musical responses to the war years.
Sandee Brawarsky is a longtime columnist in the Jewish book world as well as an award-winning journalist, editor and author of several books, most recently 212 Views of Central Park: Experiencing New York City’s Jewel From Every Angle.