Jew­ish Noir: Con­tem­po­rary Tales of Crime and Oth­er Dark Deeds

  • Review
By – September 16, 2015

Thir­ty-two sto­ries by thir­ty-two writ­ers, all acclaimed for their tal­ents, makes this a very desir­able book for the lover of noir in all its fas­ci­nat­ing vari­eties. Award-win­ning author Ken­neth Wish­nia intro­duces the col­lec­tion with a def­i­n­i­tion of noir as it relates to the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence, begin­ning from bib­li­cal times until today. He reminds us that the Jews are called ivrim or from the oth­er side” — strangers, wan­der­ers, root­less peo­ple. We are the cho­sen ones” but also cursed; our bib­li­cal sto­ries are night­mar­ish, as is our his­to­ry both ancient and mod­ern, filled with tor­men­tors and pur­suers, inqui­si­tions and blood libels, satans and angels, vision­ar­ies and prophets of doom and man-made yet divine­ly touched golems. What can be dark­er, more noir-ish than that?

Wishnia’s work is includ­ed in this col­lec­tion, as well as that of S. J. Rozan and David Liss. A 1912 Yid­dish sto­ry A Simkhe” by Yente Ser­datsky is reprint­ed here from the Forverts in Eng­lish for the very first time. The rest, how­ev­er, are mod­ern-day tales about the last and cur­rent cen­turies. The con­tent cov­ers the Holo­caust era, anti­semitism on the col­lege cam­pus, eth­i­cal issues, and crime fic­tion — with touch­es of dark humor added in for good mea­sure as well. The sto­ries are short, enter­tain­ing, quick reads. As with any short sto­ry col­lec­tion, if you don’t hap­pen to love one, you’ll sure­ly adore the next piece.

Miri­am Brad­man Abra­hams, mom, grand­mom, avid read­er, some­time writer, born in Havana, raised in Brook­lyn, resid­ing in Long Beach on Long Island. Long­time for­mer One Region One Book chair and JBC liai­son for Nas­sau Hadas­sah, cur­rent­ly pre­sent­ing Inci­dent at San Miguel with author AJ Sidran­sky who wrote the his­tor­i­cal fic­tion based on her Cuban Jew­ish refugee family’s expe­ri­ences dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion. Flu­ent in Span­ish and Hebrew, cer­ti­fied hatha yoga instructor.

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