Jewish-American Fiction in the 21st Century

Vibrancy and diversity mark the new crop of novelists and story writers.

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Krauss' first novel, an exploration of amnesia, was generally praised but her second book, The History of Love, with multiple narrators and interlocking stories, was reviewed--often disparagingly--in high profile newspapers and magazines. Some were incensed that she played so fast-and-loose with history, particularly the sections dealing with Poland and the Holocaust while others found the novel both manipulative and ultimately sentimental. By contrast, general readers by the thousands loved it.

Still Going Everywhere

If Jewish-American literature in the early years of the 21st century seems to be "going everywhere," that's a good, exciting thing. We have, after all, many more decades before the dust settles. History will make judgments about which writers remain quick and which ones, alas, seem quite dead.

I don't expect to be around in the 22nd century but the work of some of these writers just might.

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Sanford Pinsker is an emeritus professor of English at Franklin and Marshall College. He writes widely about Jewish literature and culture, and in recent years has been a judge for the Edward Lewis Wallant Prize, the Reform Judaism Prize, and the National Jewish Book Award.